The President of the Employers Federation has commended the 2017 Budget Speech presented by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, particularly in light of the increased infrastructural development outlined for the country.
Leslie Salmon, who was speaking during Observer Radio’s Big Issues Program on Sunday, said that because Antigua and Barbuda operates at a Global standard, there is a level of expectation by professional when conducting business.
“It’s cheaper to maintain than to make it go too far and then it becomes too expensive to do it so with the expansion of the pier, bunkering service at WIOC, overnight cruise ships will require infrastructure which will all work together for our benefit. So I do think that the government goal of enhancing our infrastructure and spending money in that way is good for the country because then it will make individuals feel more comfortable in investing in Antigua and Barbuda,” he said.
And while Salmon supported the Government’s NAMCO initiative which was announced by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, he had a recommendation for the Government.
He said that although he has no problem competing with the private sector through the various entities that comprises NAMCO, the government should level the playing field in regards to the rate of doing business.
“I would like the government to assist the private sector in getting rates for us operators in Antigua and Barbuda at a better rate than what we’re getting now; getting loans to do business in Antigua alone is very difficult because you have to pay very high rate and that is a hinderance to business, so I would like to see the private sector, the government, and its social partners get together to see how we can work to make the ease of doing business in Antigua and the cost of getting capital to run the business cheaper so that we can compete globally,” he said.
He said that this will encourage business in Antigua and Barbuda and would tie into the improved infrastructural plans which the Government outlined in the Budget.