The estimates debate has commenced in the House of Assembly with government reporting that the covid-19 pandemic has delivered a staggering blow to the Barbados economy with economic activity declining by 1.5 billion dollars.
This was disclosed by Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Kerrie Symmonds leading off a presentation on his ministry’s policies and plans.
Mr. Symmonds stressed that the priority for government now is to generate economic activity and noted the importance of micro, small and medium sized enterprises.
He disclosed that since last October government has provided more than twenty million dollars in assistance to the sector, double the aid provided to tourism businesses.
Mr. Symmonds also spoke of plans to revolutionise the energy sector in Barbados breaking up the Barbados Light and Power Company’s monopoly on energy generation even though they will remain the sole distributor.
A new vending bill is coming, along with the establishment of special zones from which vendors will operate.
In his response a key concern for Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley was the consolidation of wealth in this country. He believes government should focus its policies on creating opportunities for others.