Williams Industries feeling the economic pinch – CEO

A top official of one of this island’s leading conglomerates says while there are still many positive features to Barbados, the ease of doing business is certainly not one of them.

“There are so many fundamentally strong parts of Barbados, fantastic education, the rule of law, the process is generally followed, there is a high degree of talent here, but it’s not easy doing business,” cautioned Tom Hall, chief executive officer of the Williams Industries.

Participating in a panel discussion hosted by the Barbados International Business Association at the Central Bank’s Grand Salle last night, Hall took particular issue with the recent 400 per cent hike in the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) on the customs value of imported and locally produced goods, which was announced by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in his May 30 Budget.

In fact, he said the entire Budget had come as “a shock”, while the NSRL, which formed part of a $542 million austerity package, has had the effect of making the domestic business environment more difficult.

“It makes it very hard to trade in those circumstances. You get not only the increased costs . . .  but just trading in this environment is very difficult,” Hall said, while further cautioning that “you can’t change something so radically without warning.

“That makes people nervous. I’m going to be more nervous going into the next Budget,” he said.

The CEO of the 22-company conglomerate also complained that amid  low foreign reserves and tighter exchange controls, Williams Industries was struggling to get access to hard currency to expand its operations.

“So it’s a major risk and with risk comes a reduction in demand for that investment,” Hall said, while assuring, “we have a lot of interested parties wanting to work with us”.

15 Responses to Williams Industries feeling the economic pinch – CEO

  1. Saga Boy October 19, 2017 at 1:04 am

    You guys will continue to survive and be better off than most of us. You have wealth and access to finance that will always keep you ahead. You are the ones who get business from Government and who get subsidies and yah still complaining. Let us who aint got nothing complain.

    • Jennifer October 19, 2017 at 5:46 am

      @Saga – Well said. MAJORITY of this people was brainwashed to think different and become closet cussers.

      • Jennifer October 19, 2017 at 5:54 am

        What you got is clone copy, designed to bury carbon copy, while copy talking *hyte when he toe barely getting touch. IDIOTIC AD GRATEFUL.

  2. hcalndre October 19, 2017 at 3:34 am

    @Saga Boy; you sure miss Mr. Hall`s point, he`s speaking about the difficulties that the NSRL has brought, not only on the businesses but on everything and everybody in barbados. But all these nice fundamentals he spoke about, they sure not working. All the MOFailure intentions are to tax the living life out of the working people over and over, again and again and in doing so he has destroyed Barbados, what Sinckler has done any person could wake up any morning and do with out thinking.

  3. Mark A Charoux October 19, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Considering how many people are employed by williams industries we should all be worried.
    If private sector layoffs increase there will be less money to suppirt civil service (gov) the result will be more layoffs in civil service.
    When this happens it will be a combination of snowball effect and domino effect.
    We will all be in big trouble.
    Big industry is what matters in Barbados.

  4. Tony Webster October 19, 2017 at 6:54 am

    @hcalindre: well said!! These successful folks who are so greatly envied, firstly RISKED their capital by setting up small businesses: GREW these by good management until they became large, successful ( and important ) components of our economy. And now, even such pillars of our economy are increasingly at risk, because of rank incompetence our highest levels of governance.

    Fifty years on, we yet still have distortions of the reality that we are now responsible for our own well-being, and that of our children. Perhaps in the next 50, we can cast into a pit , all this crap, reeking of envy and smelling of racial intolerance.

    • VoR October 19, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      “reeking of envy ” <— It's not all about envy. Having a different opinion or an unfavorable one doesn't mean that persons are envious.

      "GREW these by good management until they became large, successful ( and important ) components of our economy. " <–Some businesses were purposely sabotaged by some of these said pillars so that they could stay ahead. It has been a well known fact for years that a lot of these pillars don't play fair.

  5. Greengiant October 19, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Yes they have been significant investors, they also benefited from Government’s sweetheart deals over the years, using high maintenance materials and methods to build our road network.

    Now the treasure cabinet is leaned, their profits have been sent out of the country for their foreign investors who have little to reinvest, or finds the current environment unfavorable to reinvest.

    It’s their duty, and always has been to restructure to meet the challenges, and it’s still quite the same. Some Barbadian companies are reinvesting what they earned during the good economic times, while others won’t take the risk. They’re basically biting the hand that has fed them for decades, while just complaining. This is not a sound business principle, so stop blaming, accusing, complaining and get your business development brains if any to work. This is my message to the conglomerates in Barbados. Collecting taxes while maintaining employment levels or reducing employment levels will have the same economic effect. There will be a reduction in spending locally. If there is any other remedy to this dept crisis, I wish to hear it.

  6. Milli Watt October 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm


  7. Mark My Word October 19, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    When wunna did reaping thee sweets and buying race horses, racing cars, BMW’S, Mercedes Benz, mansions and all thee luxury items I never hear wunna helping thee poor people.

    So if wunna Rich people feeling thee pinch wuh yuh think bout the people who working fuh $250 per week in Swan St.

    • Carson C Cadogan October 19, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Well said.

      A bunch of jokers who fighting hard to maintain the status quo. What is really surprising to me is the large number of white people who have a lot to say all of a sudden. I didn’t know that Barbados had this many white people.

      What are they scared of? That they will be forced to pay their fair share of taxes? That their free ride might be coming to an end?

      • Jennifer October 19, 2017 at 7:52 pm

        Well said mark my words. And that one can get a CONSCIENCE and an OPERATIONAL PINEAL GLAND.
        CCC _ well said. Share bottomless.

  8. Carson C Cadogan October 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    The NSRL is forcing some Bajans to hang their hats where they can reach them.

    The usual thing for some Bajans is to hang their hats where they can’t reach them. This sort of behavior is encourage by the private sector.

    • Jennifer October 19, 2017 at 7:57 pm

      This people really need to stop this relegated absence of powerless behaviour and thinking.

      • Jennifer October 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm

        And absence


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