Adrian Loveridge Column – Public Officials Must Lead by Example
Perhaps there has never been such an important time in our history to support local small businesses, whether in tourism or any other sector. And regardless of those in the private or public sector, we all have a responsibility, whenever practical and feasible, to follow this objective.
That is why I was so surprised, when yet again, while watching a recent Government convened media conference, which included politicians and public servants at the highest level, together with senior business leaders in the tourism sector, sitting at a head table with bottles of imported Florida water placed in front of them. Especially when you consider, even after a cursory search, we found more than three companies producing local water alternatives.
In our personal experience, at least one of them offered highly competitive prices when comparing with imported options.
It seems incomprehensible that an individual or department within the administration has not been charged with the responsibility of sourcing, negotiating and purchasing for Government, as many locally produced products as possible, providing of course, that they not overly costly to the taxpayer?
Our policymakers must surely understand that economic recovery will largely rest on our many small businesses survival and hopefully future growth? Not just in terms of generating employment, but partially relieving the liability of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), while at the same time creating additional overall tax contributions for Government coffers, reducing foreign imports and FX currency requirements.
Assuming that Government can be persuaded to support local small businesses in a greater degree, perhaps it is also time to resurrect some version of the Buy Bajan promotion that took place years ago, targeted towards the general buying public?
Surely, this is the best way to ensure that as many of our small businesses survive during the current exceptional circumstances and allowing them to slowly re-build for the future?
Of course it would take all those involved in the distribution and point of sale process with the support of financial institutions, media houses offering creative marketing solutions and hopefully the applicable Government Ministry and trade associations playing their part.
And if we need exceptional examples to follow and glean ideas from, there are many impressive models out there. Particularly inspiring is a website Discover Delicious (https://discoverdelicious.wales) whose mission statement boasts ‘Shop delicious, Welsh food, drink and foodie experiences from independent producers and explore the largest collection of Welsh food and drink online – Stay Safe – Shop Local – Support Small’.