By Theresa Blackman
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- Barbados is looking to expand its international business and financial services sector by attracting business from Latin America.
Minister of industry, international business, commerce and small business development, Donville Inniss, will lead the charge by participating in meetings in Costa Rica next month.
Inniss made this disclosure on Wednesday morning as he addressed the fourth annual International Business and Financial Services (IBFS) Sector Conference at the Central Bank of Barbados.
Examining the theme of the conference, Moving Beyond Pass to First Class, Inniss stated that, although Barbados was seeing favourable growth out of markets in Mexico and Venezuela, more had to be done in these locations and there was a need to further explore markets in Colombia, China and others.
“Work has started on the African continent and more is to be done. Our strategy is to engage at the diplomatic level, bring on board commercial advisors and get out there and get the business. We cannot sit here and complain when we have opportunities there to pursue. There are thousands of young and not so young, bright and energetic Barbadians, who are depending on us to secure a brighter future for them. We must not disappoint them,” he said.
The minister noted, however, that overdue legislation related to trusts, foundations, service providers and limited liability partnerships, would soon be presented to Cabinet for approval. He revealed that this would be followed shortly by completed amendments to the Companies Act, Evidence Act and others.
“We have to treasure this jurisdiction and strive at all times to build and maintain a cadre of professionals to service this sector. As we develop products, we must have the requisite personnel to service the sector. This must include opportunities to continue training and retooling,” he said.
Additionally, the minister told his audience that despite the impact of the continued global economic and financial downturn, the international business and financial services sector’s contribution to the economy of Barbados through the payment of direct and indirect taxes and its expenditure on goods and services within Barbados continues to be a major revenue earner for this country.
He pointed out that the total contribution of the IBFS to the economy of Barbados in 2012 was $874 million in comparison to the $806 million in 2011. The minister stated that this was achieved mainly through growth in employment opportunities and expenditure on goods and services in the generation of economic activity.