The continuous appeals from the private sector for Government to put measures in place to urgently improve the country’s global business competitiveness rating have not been lost on the Freundel Stuart administration, says Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.
Lamenting the fact that the country has progressively scored lower in the rankings of the World Doing Business Report, with 2017 being Barbados’ worst year, Sinckler stressed that Government remained committed to cutting the high costs and red tape that are synonymous with doing business here.
“This position has slipped progressively over the years and according to the Doing Business 2017 report, Barbados’ rank was 117 out of 190 countries overall. This also includes a ranking of 125 in the specific area of trade across borders. While we may be tempted to challenge certain aspects of these indices, and indeed we have challenged certain aspects of the report in relation data collection and methodology, we cannot challenge the fact that as a country that we are overly dependent of international trade and we must commit to simplifying and streamlining existing regulations, behaviours and practices that impact business facilitation,” said Sinckler, who was addressing Wednesday’s closing workshop for the Barbados Competitiveness Programme at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
However, the minister warned that such change would not come about if Government simply react to the rankings instead of implementing a systematic upgrade of institutions, coupled with the willingness to embrace change.
“It is important that we recognize that the attainment of greater levels of efficiency, productivity and international competitiveness cannot be achieved through transitory reactions to adverse movements in the measurement benchmarks. Any sustainable long-term response must be supported by the relevant institutional structure.
‘The concern of the private sector regarding Barbados’ competitiveness in the world is on the action agenda. Since 2009 Government has demonstrated a focused effort to improve the country’s standing in the global business and trading arena,” Sinckler noted.
“We recognize that attaining competitiveness is not a one off achievement but it is a continuous and dynamic process that has to be coordinated and managed. Change is never a simple exercise; people will always resist change because it is unknowns. The introduction of new technologies would therefore require sound change management if staff and management are to effectively transition to the new. It is also important that there be a willingness to embrace the consequence of these changes,” he added.