Former Barbados PM urges review of export markets
Former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford says there needs to be a redoubling of efforts to source new investments because the days of preferential markets are over.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday December 16, 2011 - Former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford has advised the country to urgently review its policies on export as he declared that the days of preferential markets are over.
Businesses, the Barbadian envoy said, need to focus more on the Asian markets.
“I advocate a special focus on the markets of China and East Asia, which are the most promising and resilient in world trade today and into the foreseeable future.
“We can no longer hope to hang on to the coattails of those metropolitan centres,” said Sir Lloyd, the country’s Ambassador China.
He called for a redoubling of efforts to capitalize on other sectors apart from the service industry.
“No longer is it enough to proclaim that we are a service industry economy, as though services are all that we are about, and that services are the be-all and end-all of our economic thrust...” he said.
“What I am really calling for is a redoubling of our efforts to raise significantly the output for the potential of other economic sectors, including agriculture and fisheries production, processing and manufacturing.”
Sir Lloyd identified by-product generation as an area that was fertile for exploitation.
“We must seek to extract a greater contribution to output from sugar and its by-products from cotton, and from food crops, livestock and dairy products, and fisheries. The production of cooking oil from a source such as sunflowers comes readily to mind,” he underlined.
The Ambassador also called for a deeper engagement in industry and manufacturing and pointed out that the sub-sectors that deserved re-examination were: textiles wearing apparel and the leather industry, electronic equipment, food and beverages, fabricated metal products, clerical and data processing industries, non-metallic mineral products, paper products and printing, handicrafts, and precision instruments and electrical equipment.
Sir Lloyd, however, noted that Barbados should continue to place importance on tourism, business and the financial services sectors and suggested that the country needed to invest more in its tourism plant, solar energy, water conservation and recycling activities.
He proposed the establishment of a private-public sector agency that would concentrate on the sale of Barbadian exports.