Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin, has disclosed that government is preparing a national industrial policy this financial year that will lay out a strategy to revive the manufacturing sector.
Speaking to the media after he toured BMEX 2019, Minister Toppin reassured manufacturers that government was taking their concerns seriously, while praising the innovation displayed by exhibitors.
He said the objectives of the policy were to ensure that Barbados’ manufacturing sector not only becomes strong and competitive, but could help put the country in a more sustainable position.
“Our plan is to cease having a situation where we just respond to the issues and concerns raised by manufacturers to having a strategy for the sector, by way of a national industrial policy. We know there are a number of challenges and obstacles facing the sector; we’ve already started having consultations with the sector.
“Our objectives in all of this is to make sure we have a very highly competitive, financially strong manufacturing sector which can boost our domestic exports, create large numbers of employment, earn foreign exchange, increase import substitution and put the country’s development on a more sustainable footing through our manufacturing sector’s improved performance, and of course to deal with the alleviation of poverty,” he said.
Minister Toppin lamented that the manufacturing sector had suffered significant declines in recent times.
“Manufacturers have been crying out for a number of years now for some help. We have seen some significant declines in the fortunes of the sector, certainly in the last decade or so.
When you look at the number of people employed in the manufacturing sector, the number of companies in the sector, the level of investment in the sector and the contribution of the sector to our Gross Domestic Product, all of them have declined significantly over the last 10 years or so,” he pointed out.