BCCI held its monthly business luncheon on Tuesday, 31st May, 2016 this time in honour of it 190th AGM and Anniversary.
The Right Hon Owen Arthur M.P. was the guest speaker and in his address focused on ‘The Stabilisation and Transformation of the Barbados Economy.
Commanding an audience of over 200 business persons, the former Prime Minister of Barbados highlighted ways in which the Barbados Economy can be improved and sustained, in his opinion, in order to be competitive.
In a brief history lesson, The Hon. Arthur started by reminding the audience that ‘over the years Barbados has been engaged in a process of nation building at the center of which has been certain vital economic processes’. He went on to further state that “The relatively successful effort to build a modern economy in Barbados has in large measure been due to the harmonious blending of policies and programmes to stabilize, grow and transform its productive system at each stage of its evolution as a coherent, holistic undertaking”. It was however mentioned that whilst ‘the policies and programmes employed at each phase of the evolution of the economy have varied; the ethos which has driven national development has not.’
In addressing the current state of the economy, Mr Arthur opined that Barbados has now entered a new phased characterized by extraordinary turmoil, uncertainty and instability. Pointing out that “at the center of this has been a period of low or no growth accompanied by disorder in the public finances as reflected in large and unmanageable fiscal deficits”. The M.P. then sought to highlight areas in which the economy was being threatened and offered possible solutions to counter.
It was advised that the optimal path that ‘the Barbados economy must therefore traverse to achieve growth is one that transforms it from being a trade preference economy which it has traditionally been, and a debt propelled economy which it has recently become, to being an investment-driven economy in search of its preferred and ultimate best option of being a genuinely expelled economy’.
Mr. Arthur therefore recommended that in order to become an investment-driven and export propelled economy, as required by prevailing circumstances, Barbados should begin to incorporate best practices and best global benchmarks in its trade and business facilitation programmes and change its business culture to ensure such adjustments become of lasting effect.
In closing, The Right Hon. Arthur expressed his existing belief that the Barbados brand is still strong and still very serviceable and stressed that “the 50th year of Independence Barbados should be dominated by a great National Conversation as to how we can strengthen the brand, and make our country’s next 50 years even better and brighter that the first 50”.
Newly elected President Eddie Abed also shares this view having highlighted the Chamber’s efforts in meeting with key stakeholders in addressing the issues of the BCCI members.
In his address as President, Mr Abed paid homage to the Chamber’s 190th Anniversary and highlighted four (4) areas that the BCCI intends to continue to address on behalf of its members during his tenure. These are:
- Increased business facilitation
- Improving productivity within both the private & public sectors
- Improving a national relationship with government by advocating for greater transparency with the social partnership where critical info and decisions can be shared in a timely manner
- Encouraging entrepreneurship in foreign exchange earning and saving areas.
The Business Luncheon ended with a question and answer segment in which the attendees capitalised on the opportunity to further ask the former PM about their respected issues.