BIDC rent arrears a huge headache
If Minister of Commerce and Industry Donville Inniss had his way perpetual defaulters on rent to the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) would be locked out.
With close to $10 million owed to the corporation by tenants occupying its industrial estates across the island, Inniss said although the BIDC was not just a landlord it should still be able to collect what it was owed.
“There will always be a few who, no matter how well they are doing, take an attitude that it is Government and therefore they should not pay rent. My view with such individuals is that you go and you lock the doors and keep them out,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters following today’s tour of garment manufacturer River Bay Trading, located in the BIDC’s Wildey Industrial Estate, St Michael. The company boasts of being up to date on all its payments, including rent and taxes to Government.
Noting that the amount owed to the BIDC was “not a little bit of money”, Inniss said an analysis was needed to find out why delinquent tenants were not able to pay and to “see what can be done to assist” them.
The minister said he believed most entrepreneurs were willing to make an effort to pay their bills, but acknowledged they might fall behind because they were waiting for refunds from Government.
“So it cuts both ways. So whilst I say those who are tenants must pay and should pay I am always mindful there are a few instances where the difficulty is understood,” he said.
The BIDC manages about 12 industrial estates comprising 70 commercial buildings. In addition, there are eight buildings that house more than 20 craft shops and a restaurant. In total there are more than 300 separate units in the corporation’s buildings.
Last month chief executive officer of the BIDC Dr Leroy McCLean told Barbados TODAY that companies that continued to renege on their payment arrangements would soon have to move out.
McClean did not say what measures would be taken or how soon.
Inniss told reporters he was also concerned about the level of grants that were being given to some businesses by the BIDC and he had raised the issue with the board.
“We have to ensure that . . . wherever decisions are made to give a grant that it is a very sound decision because I am concerned about some of those entities that receive large sums of money from the BIDC in the past and have nothing to show from it. My directive to the board is to tighten up some of these handouts and grants and ensure that wherever they are done they are done in a manner and to companies that will bring benefit to this economy,” informed Inniss.