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Lynette Holder, chief executive officer of the Small

Business Association (SBA), is calling for an urgent

meeting of the Social Partnership in an effort to chart

a new path for the productive sectors here.

Saying that the Barbados market was uncompetitive,

Holder told Barbados TODAY urgent changes

to some policies were needed in order to encourage

competition and increase investor confidence.

Acknowledging the crisis had affected the local

economy, Holder said: “I expect the domestic policies

are of such to protect the productive sectors, not to

further cripple them, and to this date we have not

seen the kind of recovery because the policies further

compounded the problem and that is the issue.”

She said: “In 2014 the focus has to be how do we get

our productive sectors to be competitive.”

She said areas such as the manufacturing industry,

the hotel sector, agriculture and construction continued

to struggle and would continue to do so unless those

Government policies were addressed.

Holder identified two of those areas which she said

would allow some industries to be more competitive,

a lowering of the Value Added Tax rate and a subsidy

on diesel.

“I, for one, have been calling for the Social Partnership

to meet and meet urgently. Not just to have another

talk shop, but to look frontally at addressing the issue

of competitiveness, because our businesses are not

competitive, owing primarily to the policy framework

that they have to operate in,” said Holder.

“I am not calling for meetings for the sake of

meetings. Barbados, because of its very strong

institutionalized environment, can meet easily and

dialogue and talk about issues. That is not where I am

at at all. I am calling for action. And in order to get

the action you have to meet to determine what it will

be. But we definitely need a rethink on the market

fundamentals needed to enable our sectors to be

competitive and that is the concern that I have,”

said Holder.

She has also issued a call for some Government

agencies to improve on their approval time, saying they

were stifling the progress of some businesses.

Citing the Bridgetown Port and the Town Planning

Department as two examples of Government agencies

that were slow with approvals, Holder said not getting

approvals or goods on time made it difficult for small

companies to get international investors.

“These are pressing issues that have been espoused

now. . . . If you don’t address the issue and you set up

committee after committee and do not address the

issues once and for all, then when the external factors

affect us, like the crisis as we have seen, what do you

expect? And this is the same private sector that you are

looking to to drive economic recovery,” added

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