Article by Randy Bennett – taken from the Barbados Today – Wednesday 23, February 2022
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Business Development, Sandra Husbands wants to see small businesses get a bigger piece of the pie when it comes to Government contracts.
Husbands said with debt management proving to be an albatross across the backs of small businesses, she believes access to Government contracts would help those businesses to grow and thrive.
“An important area that will help our small businesses to grow bigger really is access to Government contracts. Many of the currently large businesses grew large because they were able to access significant levels of Government contracts. Therefore we have to be able to use access to those contracts to be able to empower some of our smaller businesses to be able to build so that they can create more employment and that many of them can build sufficient resilience so that they can begin to look at things like export,” the minister said while speaking before the Standing Finance Committee on the Appropriation Bill 2022, in Parliament today.
“…One of the challenges that most small businesses encounter is the area of debt management. Debt management has been a terrible noose around the necks of businesses, especially for small businesses. They are undercapitalized, they don’t have enough working capital, they can’t get access and then you’ve got the debt strangling them and they do not have a method by which they are going to escape.”
Supervisor of Insolvency, Esther Springer told the Committee that the department was responsible for overseeing the administration of the provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
She revealed that as part of its plans for the upcoming financial year, the department would roll out its Dealing With Debt programme which would provide assistance for indebted small businesses and individuals.
Springer said as part of the programme they would assist in developing debt management plans for businesses and business owners would have to undergo financial counselling and financial training.
“This area is one that is very important and often overlooked. We are seeing people as young as 23 and up to the age of 72 suffering with severe debt problems. We are seeing persons with eight credit cards using one credit card to pay the other. We are seeing businesses that start out but because of a lack of awareness of what is out there they are getting themselves in financial trouble,”