Private sector wants answers

The private sector wants to know what has become of government’s plan to divest some of its “strategic assets”.

Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry Senior Vice President Tracey Shuffler said this was something corporate Barbados hoped for, but did not hear in this week’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals. She was reacting to the presentation by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler.

Shuffler said some private sector agencies, including the Chamber, wanted the possibility of public/private sector partnerships where non strategic assets could be sold to national interests or sold to the highest bidder.

“That is something that we heard very little about… The question is: What is going to be the criteria to measure it? How do we decide what is a strategic asset to what is not? But at least let us open that discourse,” she stated.

“I think the market can decide that quite efficiently and it could happen. I think in a lot of cases the Government expects that they have to be running them well before you can sell them, that is not the case.”

Another omission she identified from the Budget was a well enunciated plan to improve productivity and service levels in Barbados.

“The question is how do we really take that forward? How do we make it evident that we are not only looking at those but tracing and measuring them to ensure that we get to a level of international competitiveness to bring Barbados into the future?” she asked.

“Another thing would be the collection of outstanding taxes and so on. I think the Government needs to find ways to ensure that what is owed to them can be collected… So we would like to see some effort at putting a plan in place,” Shuffler added. (SC)

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