In fact, with more than $9 million owed the corporation as of the end of May, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss told a gathering at BMEX 2013 this morning that such practices had to come to an end.
Acknowledging that the manufacturing sector was challenged by limited finance for working capital and new product development as well as high production costs, lack of strategic direction and increased competition, Inniss said his ministry had taken a number of steps to correct this.
He said the time had past for meetings and now was the time for action, explaining that his ministry was working on financing avenues for the sector through Fund Access and the BIDC, as well as support for micro and small businesses.
Stating he was aware that Fund Access needed recapitalisation in the amount of $6 million, while the BIDC had to “fully activate its technical assistance programme and budget to assist manufacturers”, he warned that not every business that came knocking would be given a grant.
He said though that for the BIDC to be effective, businesses would have to work along with that agency, especially as there were plans for a rum expansion project, entrepreneurship and alternative energy programmes among others.
“BIDC can be assisted in achieving these objectives by its tenants paying their rent and paying on time. As at May 31, the BIDC was owed some $9,579,546.81 by 257 tenants. Ninety-two per cent of said arrears being in excess of 90 days. In several instances tenants have opted not to pay any rent since the first month’s rent and many have opted to renege on any payment plan agreed to with BIDC in respect of arrears.
“Now we have some very creative minds with excellent ideas that need to get on the production floor, however, the state through BIDC cannot render much needed assistance if existing tenants do not pay their rent. I am mindful that there are some who have genuine challenges, but at least discuss it with your landlord. If you refuse to cooperate, then we will have to litigate,” he warned. (LB)