BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has made an impassioned plea to financial institutions operating in Barbados to facilitate greater and better access to financing for small business and private individuals.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart
The prime minister made this appeal while delivering the keynote address to a group of 250 business leaders and entrepreneurs, diplomats and local government officials during the monthly Chamber of Commerce Luncheon held on January 31 under the Theme “Barbados in 2014 and Beyond”.
Stuart’s comments come at a very critical time for the country and his government, when persons who inevitably have to leave the public sector will be seeking financing to explore new career interests. While it is expected that the layoffs could have significant implications for the island’s economy, better access to financing will definitely mitigate the impact.
In urging the private sector to play an even greater role to stimulate the economy, Stuart quoted an IADB report stating that “the key challenges that confront the nation are poor work ethic and access to financing.”
He called on the business community with specific reference to the financial sector: “to design a financing /mentoring model that removes the critical bottlenecks encountered both by small and potential entrepreneurs.”
The prime minister sought to contrast the fundamental difference of mindset between the private and public sector in national and economic development: “Private decision-making employs a private calculus in sharp contrast with the public sector, which uses a social calculus. The average private business person is not expected to be primarily concerned with the benefits that may accrue to society from his decisions. A government, on the other hand, has to consider the social benefits and costs that may accrue from the decisions that it makes and from the options that it exercises.”
The sponsor of the Chamber luncheon was the leading regional microfinance institution in the Eastern Caribbean, Axcel Finance.
The Barbados general manager, Ricky Went echoed the prime minister’s appeal and noted that this is the very purpose for launching Axcel Finance in Barbados: “The heart and soul of our business model, as a microfinance institution, is to strike the right balance between business aspect and the social needs. We first and foremost look at the client as a human being filled with aspirations and committed to contributing to the economy, with the loan being as secondary as a means to facilitate dreams.”
In presenting the prime minister with a token from Axcel Finance, president and CEO, Sam Rosenberg, noted that “as a regional player in the microfinance domain, our company has put access to credit at the top of its agenda.”
He stressed that Axcel Finance understand the needs and strives to meet them daily. The company continues to be excited about the success when consumers and small businesses report how they able to develop and grow.