October 13, 2006

Businesses should shape up or loose out

If we do not come together as one unit we could face difficulty when the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) comes into full effect by 2008. That’s the warning from Barbadian Business Consultant Oral Dowell to Vincentian businesses.

Dowell, earlier this week, hosted a seminar in collaboration with the Professional Secretariat Services (PSS) in getting businesses on track for the introduction of the CSME.{{more}}

With the Regional Development Fund not being capitalised businesses that are not CSME prepared would be left in financial anguish, he added.

The RDF was conceptualised by the CARICOM Heads of Government and was intended to cushion economic fallout from the implementation of the CSME but today the bank remains dry.

“A lot of people are not learning how to adopt and how they should cope with the operation of the CSME, they behave as if it’s just business as usual,” Dowell said.

He noted that small businesses are not trying to refashion their businesses to accommodate the Caribbean Single Market.

External forces like the World Trade Organisation, he said, would more than likely put the region at a disadvantage.

“When it comes to international trade we would either be penalised or suffer if we don’t get our acts together and prepare for the Single market,” Dowell said.

Dowell, a US qualified Certified Public Accountant (CPA), noted that while the region opens its doors for another attempt at a single market, a failure due to lack of preparedness could possibly see the 2008 timeline for the Caribbean Single Market as the last opportunity.

“As private businesses I think we need to move from being reactive to proactive, the governments are preparing for the CSME but I do not think people are being too focussed, there is a lot of work that needs to be done,” Dowell said.