Small Business the Bedrock of National Development


Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda has said that small and micro businesses constitute the bedrock of national development and is the basis on which the country will grow, and create jobs.
“The opportunities that abound in this country can only be achieved if we are confident, and have that sense of commitment that not only do we live in the best country in the world, but a country that offers great opportunities, especially for people in the micro and small business sector,” he stated, while addressing a speaker’s forum at the Technology Innovation Centre at the University of Technology yesterday (March 19).
Mr. Samuda said many persons, who are operating small business, did not even recognize that fact, because their profits are so good. “There has been in the past, a stigma attached to calling yourself a small businessman, and yet, the majority of the small businesses, if you, on a scale of one to ten, compare them to the medium-sized and large businesses, I would give the small business sector a seven or eight, in terms of their success,” he said, stressing that the economy is inextricably linked to the success of the small business sector.
The Industry Minister pointed out that small businesses account for approximately 35 per cent of the total work force of the country, or just under 400,000 persons.
“It is also primarily made up of wholesaling and retailing activities.whilst it is perhaps the area that is easiest to get into, one of the things that we have not done over the years is to lay a foundation that would encourage young entrepreneurs to get into more productive activities, such as manufacturing and the delivery of services, so we find that the wholesaling and retailing aspect of small business occupies some 24 per cent of the entire labour force,” Mr. Samuda informed.
He said that in order to encourage and foster the development of small business, government has to play an integral role. “Because it is pointless talking about you must develop, you must exercise initiative, you must display commitment, but you must be left to your own creativity and your own efforts that will result in your own success,” he remarked.
As it relates to government support, Mr. Samuda said that one of the most vexed issues over the years has been access to government contracts, by small business. To this end, he said he will be making a submission to Cabinet, to concretize and to get a final decision on the matter of government procurement policy, with respect to local industry, particularly for the micro business sector.
“The sector cannot afford the economies of scale that the medium and large-sized companies enjoy.when you consider the amount of goods and services that are brought by the government, there has to be consideration to the local companies whereby they can be given special treatment, and we don’t want to go about giving special treatment and violating World Trade Organization rules, but there are just some basic things that are just simple common sense,” Mr. Samuda said.
Elaborating, he said, “if you are going to acquire goods, and there is a differential between a foreign company or a very large company and a small business that is emerging, that has the potential to grow, you have to consider what is in the national interest and what is the ultimate result of enabling that small entrepreneur to get that contract, although they may be marginally more expensive initially.”
The trickle down effect of such a policy, he said, will ultimately strengthen the economy, so that whilst the cost of doing business with smaller companies may be marginally more in the initial stages, in the final analysis, it will benefit the country.

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