Focused on Industry
Concerted efforts are being made to strengthen existing industries and find, position, and build out new industries in Barbados.
Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science, and Technology Davidson Ishmael said that the state-owned Export Barbados (BIDC) has been leading that charge. He referenced the work of the Corporation during the debate on the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals in the House of Assembly on Thursday, March 16. According to the Minister, industry has always been “a bedrock of our country’s ability to progress”.
“And the goal of this portfolio under my ministry and the team at the BIDC Export Barbados is to further enhance those industries – build them out, give them the support that they need, and also to bring even new industries to our country so that we can create job opportunities”.
The Minister explained that Export Barbados (BIDC), therefore, has a new and enhanced focus, with less emphasis on being a landlord of government’s properties, and more on being a catalyst for the transformation of Barbados and its economy. As a result, he noted that all eyes are fixed on a target of building exports to reach USD 1 billion by 2030.
“The organization has pivoted, and it is now oriented towards exports – moving our people from just domestic production to now moving those products off our shores so that we can earn some necessary foreign exchange and boost our gross domestic product”.
With its new focus, the Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology Minister disclosed that plans remain on stream to officially change the name of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation to Export Barbados, which is in keeping with the Corporation’s new mandate. He revealed the name change had received the Cabinet’s nod, and he will soon bring the requisite legislation to Parliament for approval.
He went further, indicating that the renewed focus on industry is centered on industrial digitalization and digitization. The Minister, contending that we are not operating in the world alone, maintained that our industries must become “ready to jump ahead of the curve”.
Minister Ishmael stated, “I have led businesses for many years, and I understand competition. I understand market forces. I understand that we are all competing for scarce and limited resources. Barbados is no different as a country. If we don’t do what we’re supposed to do, somebody’s going to eat our breakfast. We have to get out there on a daily basis and compete with the rest of the world. So, we can’t sit back and rest on our laurels and say, ‘oh we can stay here in the analog age’. We have to move forward as a country because the rest of the world is going forward, and we must be competitive”.