A change in mandate is already in the works for the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI).
This disclosure came this morning from the BCSI???s Executive Director, Lisa Cummins, at a breakfast meeting for media persons to discuss the upcoming National Services Week, taking place from November 8 to 14.
Ms. Cummins said the BCSI has been gradually shifting its focus from centering mainly on non-traditional services, to the development of a broad National Development Strategy that would support domestic development of the services sector.
This change, she explained, came about in 2011 with the adoption of a new strategic plan following the realisation that there was no macro framework and no consensus nationally on services.
???When we talked about services, we found that people were talking about professionals who were engaged in business activity???People who were on the other hand talking about customer service and service delivery, ??? were talking about services they would be provided with as a customer when they went into a store. There was no general consensus from the highest to the lowest level on what this thing called services was???,??? she stated.
Noting that this proved problematic since the services sector was contributing about 78 per cent of annual Gross Domestic Product, Ms. Cummins explained that this was recognised and could be quantified economically for the most part but it was not clearly defined.
???One of the other things that we found at the time was that there was no national ministry that dealt with this thing called services???So, you had a ministry responsible for Tourism which is a services sector…
You had a ministry which had designated responsibility for International Business???You had ministries responsible for ICT as a services sector and you had ministries responsible for education in terms of the public and social side, but the business side of it was not necessarily being treated with,??? she underscored.
She further added that overall people did not understand the business side of the services sector but it was not being treated at a policy level across government ministries in any coherent way, which in turn created problems.
She disclosed that the BCSI???s first priority was to address this issue, and as a result, a national consultation on the services sector was held in August 2011 to create that framework.