A group of participants from the Barbados Network Consultation view locally crafted products. (C. Pitt/BGIS)
By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- The Barbados government is giving considerable thought to creating financial instruments that would be attractive to networkers at home and abroad and which would lead to a greater uptake of the instruments issued.
This disclosure came on Tuesday from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he delivered the feature address at the opening of the Third Barbados Network Consultation under the theme: One Nation, One Family… Building Pathways to Prosperity and Development.
Stuart explained that the goal of this initiative was to raise foreign exchange capital from Barbadians living abroad, and from external holdings of residents of Barbados to support local economic development enterprises.
“This would be done through a series of initiatives that include more effective marketing and the provision of government guarantees of safe, reliable and attractive rates of return. These instruments, which include what is envisaged as ‘the Barbados National Development Networker Bond’, are still being designed. The details will be discussed at this Consultation and you will most certainly have an opportunity to make your input,” he promised.
The prime minister said that despite the fact that Barbados had established several institutions to help potential entrepreneurs move from the conception of business ideas to the implementation and success of their ventures, several budding business people had complained about the lack of capital to finance their enterprises.
“They claim that the difficulty in accessing adequate investment financing from established financial institutions prevents them from implementing their business plans. And those who persevere end up with business projects that are grossly undercapitalised. Hence, the high failure rates of micro-enterprises and small businesses,” he stated.
As a result, he continued, government had been pondering how best to assist them.
Stuart noted that, in the past, Barbadian migrants responded vigorously to the major challenges of their era, and told his audience that it was now their time to do similarly. He expressed the view that this economic downturn and the changes it triggered offered enterprising Barbadians here and abroad several pathways to prosperity.
The prime minister urged the participants of the consultation to reflect carefully on the Crop Over Festival to see what business opportunities could be created.
“Trade and investment are essential means to economic growth in Barbados and your investment, whether continuing or potential, is important to us. Now is a good time to invest in Barbados and help entrepreneurs to link Barbados to its Diaspora in mutually beneficial ways, and in so doing, create employment and also wealth,” he suggested.