Alternative energy sector vital for Barbados, says minister

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) — The government of Barbados has reiterated that it is moving with haste to build out the island’s alternative energy sector now that the policy framework is in place.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, told a press conference last week: “[We] are very far advanced in setting out the regulatory grid and are ready to go to Parliament with the governing legislation for the disposal of excess electricity in the country.”

Sinckler expressed the view that this new initiative would save the country “loads of foreign exchange”, provide new opportunities for investment, grow new jobs and contribute to the island’s energy independence.

He explained that the alternative energy sector was part of the medium-term strategy which was designed to transform the economy over the medium to long-term to lock in sustainable growth predicated on the foreign exchange earnings and saving sectors.

He stated that the government was also forging ahead with agricultural sector reform, especially in the area of agro-processing, and added that government would shortly sign off on the project to restructure the old sugar industry.

He continued: “We have renewed our focus on the international business and financial sector, providing for the introduction of new products and services in the sector, lowering tax rates, signing off on a whole new set of double taxation treaties, tax information exchange agreements, renegotiating existing ones and meeting our international compliance requirements. We are working on improving our business facilitation processes, but still have some way to go in this regard.”

The minister stated that the government had set out a policy to re-invest in the tourism sector to differentiate existing markets and broaden horizons in new areas of the world.

“Equally, we have expanded the provision of tax and duty waiver across the sector to encourage renewed investment in the industry. We have proposed, through the NIS, to establish a Hotel Refurbishment Investment Fund to help property owners to undertake serious upgrades of their plant to allow for an invigoration of that part of the sector,” he stressed.

Sinckler urged Barbadians to remain focused, keep calm and forge ahead to achieve their personal, household, community, business and national objectives. He reminded all that “we cannot and will not achieve anything productive if we continue to waste our energies trying to paint the worst picture of Barbados and its economy”.

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