When Governor Venner delivered his review of the economies of the the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (E.C.C.U.), he highlighted the need for dramatic changes within the private sector of the sub-region, suggesting that there is a bigger role that should be played by the corporate sector.
Venner is of the view that the private sector ought to become better organised and should take a greater share of leadership in economic development in the OECS sub-region.
Though he admitted that the state has a very important role to play in any new dispensation, the governor also accepted that it must be complemented by the activities and performance of the private and financial sector.
But he also agreed that the current structure of the private sector does not lend itself to performing a major role in the development process.
Based on census and survey data, the private sector is currently two-thirds informal and one-third formal and concentrates its activities primarily in the wholesale, retail, real estate, construction and services sectors.
These sectors Venner said are referred to as the non-tradable activities, as opposed to the export or tradable ones. He further stated that the ratio needs to be reversed so that a new private sector can emerge which can contribute significantly to economic growth and development. Governor Venner also gave his take on the financial sector. He mentioned that much more coordinated efforts at both the national and OECS levels need to be the hallmark of policies in the coming year.
“We must enlarge our perspectives to realise that while there is a lot to be done within our borders, we will not succeed if we do not combine our efforts across our countries,” he stated. “This is one of the stark realities we must face, for in this, lies our hope for sustained and equitable development.”
Minister Skerritt was in agreement with Governor Venner who noted that three agents, namely, the state or government, the private sector and the financial sector are vital to the success of a new economic model in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (O.E.C.S).
Skerritt is therefore encouraging the private sector to play a greater role in development, in the wake of the comments shared by Venner.
The Senator indicated that the government in Basseterre has also been seeking to encourage and facilitate closer partnerships with several programs and policies that they have developed to benefit the private sector.