ENTREPRENEURSHIP – Latest Buzz Word For Government

Sandra Husbands, Barbados Labour Party Candidate for St. James South

The revival of the demand for a relatively unknown entertainment licence has frustrated the efforts of many promoters to host Crop Over fetes resulting in losses for this sector. It is a reflection of the regard with which small businesses are held by government. This economic crisis has taken a toll on the small business sector that now reels from diminished spending power of its customers, and rising costs to do business, compliments of the international environment and government taxation policy. Hundreds of small shops, professional services, contractors, fisherfolk, retail shops, cosmetologists, IT service providers, general services providers are now operating on a third of the income they commanded in better years or in some cases closing. Loss of private sector jobs have come primarily in this sector as small business employers have been forced to cut hours, lay off, reduce purchases of goods and services. Many are unable to meet payments and statutory obligations such as rent, wages, loans, utilities, suppliers, increased licensing fees, NIS, PAYE, and VAT. The international environment and questionable government policy squeeze from both sides robbing these businesses of necessary oxygen to survive. Their demise affects significant investment capital, and the employment opportunities for the young graduates and school leavers, now some 12,000 strong. The growing number of empty commercial spaces is testimony to closures in this sector.

Taking government at its word that it is committed to the small business sector, in 2008, the request to government was as a strategy to aid the small business sector to survive the unfolding crisis was to ensure that 40% of government contracts worth 200m be distributed to this sector which would support close to 1000 small businesses. This would have protected more than 4000 jobs thus stabilising the unemployment figures without gov’t swelling the civil service. This money would flow through the economic system benefitting a wider network of persons into the retail and services sectors, banking system, large businesses etc, thus sustaining government revenues through VAT receipts, duties, income tax and corporation tax. Instead we witnessed a contraction in the use of small businesses in the tenders for government contracts, which have become concentrated into fewer hands.

Currently we hear the frequent call by government for entrepreneurship but we see a contradiction in policy and actions that make it difficult to entertain with seriousness any such call. The Small Business portfolio has been shifted in every reshuffle to more than four Ministers. No enunciation of a policy initiative to stabilize and protect the sector, by any Minister to date. The factoring programme was placed with commercial banks instead of the Barbados SBA which could have earned the commission, to further advance the development of the small business sector.

In terms of treatment, on the positive side, we see the encouragement of environmental services and recycling; and the recent policy to reduce penalties on interest for VAT. On the negative side miniscule participation from close to 2b dollars in government construction contracts and denigrating remarks painting with a wide brush participants in this industry. The slowdown on CSME which is the natural growth place for assertive small businesses which will retard the further expansion of our professional services groups such as architects, medical professionals, lawyers, consultants etc into the space. There are no new initiatives to move against praedial larceny that impoverishes the small farmers. A five hour presentation on the human development strategy said little about what allocations would be made for small business formation to convert education into economic growth. Yet we hear the constant call for entrepreneurship.

0 thoughts on “ENTREPRENEURSHIP – Latest Buzz Word For Government

  1. IF (and its a BIG IF) this Government or previous ones are serious with helping small profitable businesses develop, it can start with the Small Business Development Act (cap. 318c) 2002.
    It is now months since we applied through our accountants to obtain the reduced rate of corporation tax (25%) to enable us to grow. We should be able to do it online and in a reasonable time period without going through prolonged bureacratic red tape. We should also be able to pay all Government dues online without having to wait in long lines and in some cases being forced to return a week or two later for a receipt.
    A quoted ‘32,000 civil servants’ for a working population of about 147,000 just isn’t sustainable.

  2. Lord have mercy, Sandra Husbands I guess we will have to put up with you until the people of St. James South make you lose your deposit.

    Just remember you are the candidate for St. James South because no one else wanted it.

    Your candidature is nothing more than a suicide mission just like Hudson’s, but have your fifteen minutes of fame maybe you deserve it, I don’t know.

  3. At least Sandra has made a coherent, reasonable, logical submission which makes some sense to an intellectual.
    CCC continues at his level with his puerile, pithy pedestrian posts of a pure political pundit.

  4. @Carson

    Do you understand that St.James South is not a garrison constituency like St.John?

    Do you understand what a national swing against the government would mean?

  5. Georgie Porgie

    “At least Sandra has made a coherent, reasonable, logical submission which makes some sense to an intellectual”

    Sandra Husbands has tunnel vision that is the only reason that explains her discourse.
    Her piece has more holes in it than a sieve. Bajans have far more sense than she is giving them credit for and she will soon find out.

    DAVID, Sandra has never won anything in her life and she is not going to start with St. James South.
    I guess that she has too much time on her and she is doing the BLP a favor by running in the contituency so that the BLP would at least have the semblence of a Candidate.

    That is all there is to it. Suicide candidate.

  6. Whether DLP or BLP, tendency is protect “architects, medical professionals, lawyers, consultants” as long as they serve party …no? Comrade Husbands make only slight remark for productive enterprise, velly velly slight… Tiefin’ of crops never serious issue with BLP either …no? “small shops, professional services, contractors, fisherfolk, retail shops, cosmetologists, IT service providers, general services providers” not in business of earning Yuan or US Dollar, not even in participate for VAT collection. but maybe Comrade Husbands point to different strategy for BLP to correct problem … no? Maybe Comrade Husbands point to plan for fish farming.. Maybe Comrade Husbands point to plan for Barbados Sales Department with agent to sell Barbados product to rest of world …no?

  7. Homeland unlike India, focus of product and not professional service … Now Homeland produce screwdriver and rocket, baby food and CPU, perfume for lady and pill for man … no? Homeland create job for citizen all over world by making building and railroad in Africa and South America, road and plant in Caribbean, all government project, but India private, and India Government make no money … Maybe Barbados learn from Homeland …no?

  8. DAVID

    “St.James South is not a garrison constituency like St.John”

    I think that you are reading too many Jamaican newspapers. Since when is St. John a “garrison constituency”? The people of St. John should take issue with that statement.
    “Garrison constituencies” have certain criminal connotations attached to them. Is that what is taking place in St. John in your humble opinion?
    Next you will be saying that the Democratic Labour Pary supplies guns and ammunition to the people of the “garrison constituency” of St. John.

  9. @BAPFP perhaps you could commment on what is the DLP strategy or approach to small business development, as they are in the chair, it is what they do right now that matters to the survival of small businesses not your opinion on what I write. By the way it would make sense for you check the record of BLP on smal business development. No other party has done more for their development. But that is not the discussion that will help them now.


    I was looking for intelligent discussion on the plight of small businesses, since any growth in the economy or job formation will come primarily from this sector. They are part of the key to our emergence from this crisis, the longer it takes it retards the generation jobs for young people, and the larger the tax burden we will have to bear. If DLP policy is crushing them, from incompetence rather than malice, then we need a strong signal to gov’t to ease up. Don’t worry about my political chances, let Donville do that, and he is not laughing.
    @Adrian – I agree with your concerns Adrian, policy of land valuations act as a threat to tourism, but again they do not think before they act. Amateur hour. Perhaps an appeal to them on the matter will encourage them to go back to the drawing board.

    • @Bajan Truth

      You are correct that SMEs have always been the bedrock of successful economies. Our regret is that this is a sector which is not stridently represented in Barbados, often when it is there is the hint of political opportunism. There in lies part of the problem.

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