Minister with responsibility for Commerce, International Trade, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs, Bradly Felix, said the main impetus to the reformation of the island’s business environment is to provide improved opportunity for Saint Lucian citizens to use their skill and ingenuity to produce tradable goods and resources.
The Minister was addressing stakeholders at the second National Forum on Doing Business in Saint Lucia, on March 16. The main objective of the forum was to examine successes and challenges to remove unnecessary hurdles.
Mr. Felix diffused any possible misconception about the “Ease of Doing Business” agenda, saying that the rationale is not to get a World Bank rating as the number one country for conducting business, but to ensure that ordinary people have access to the best quality of life, notwithstanding the surrounding constraints.
“So what’s really driving the need for changing the way we conduct business? Well, in the ever-changing world of commerce where competitiveness and inter-connectedness associated with globalization continue to affect small economies like ours, it is a fact of life that technological advancement and innovation continue to redefine how we conduct business. We cannot avoid these changes. Reforming the environment for doing business is not an end in itself but a means through which businesses, whether local of foreign, can establish and conduct transactions that will not only maximize shareholder value, but will ultimately lead to improving the welfare of our people.”
He said the World Bank’s annual “Ease of Doing Business” report is proof that developing countries need to implement policies that will cause especially small economies, to explore initiatives that build synergies between individual government agencies. He added that the solo approach that typically characterizes public administrations in mainly developing countries is no longer practical in today’s inter-connected world.
“As Minister, it is my responsibility to lead the reform process in government so that greater value can be created through collaboration across government agencies with the ultimate goal of improving the environment in which business in conducted. As each agency implements its work program, a certain momentum will be created that will lead to more reforms that will eventually become the standard approach in not just the government but also in the private sector as the search for continual improvement becomes the way for doing business in our country.”
The necessity of reform has moved Cabinet to approve the appointment of a three-member “Ease of Doing Business” ministerial sub-committee chaired by the Minister for Commerce.
The other two committee members are the Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, Guy Joseph and the Minister for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Dominic Fedee.
The “Ease of Doing Business” Ministerial sub-committee, is expected to submit a report to Cabinet every quarter.