Government has no business running business

The opposite of “entrepreneur” is “government employee”

The Barbados Investment & Development Corporation has no problem blowing its own horn about the industrial estates under its care. The BIDC website brags, and not unreasonably so…

“The Property and Estate Management Department oversees the ongoing maintenance of the industrial estates owned and managed by the Corporation. The estates are strategically located across the island, and since the first one was established in Grazettes in 1961, have served as a low-cost base of operations for thousands of locally-owned and foreign-owned manufacturing companies. The BIDC’s industrial estates are a significant feature of the Barbadian physical landscape, encompassing over 90 acres of land. Their contribution to the economic and social transformation of the island over the years has been significant.”

There is truth in that statement, but left unsaid and unknown is the massive cost to the taxpayer due to unpaid rents, loans and the natural inefficiency of government employees pretending they know what business is all about. There’s also the not so little matter of the run down condition of some of the properties that might as well be abandoned. They sure look that way, and no real business person would let those assets deteriorate.

But remember… the opposite of “entrepreneur” is “government employee” – and you don’t need to be a brilliant scholar to work that one out.

Our old friend Afra Raymond just published an article about Trinidad & Tobago government employees pretending to be entrepreneurs while holding on to the public purse in case a bailout is needed. See? Barbados and T&T have a whole lot in common!

Property Matters – The Business of Government

by Afra Raymond

Once again, I am using this edition of Property Matters to consider the ever-controversial State Enterprises, against the wider question of the role of the State.  This is no small area for examination and I start by using what seems to be the favourite quote of Trade and Industry Minister, Stephen Cadiz, “Government has no business running business“.

Given the politics practiced here, it should be no surprise that all our political parties give emphasis to the important role of the private sector in the economy and society and so on.

The line of reasoning goes like this – “The State is only here to facilitate and clear the way for Private Enterprise.  The State does not intend to stand in the way of or compete with Private Enterprise” Those are not actual quotes, but they are just a paraphrasing of the sentiments expressed by various politicians over the years, whatever the party in power.

But the actual scale of the State’s involvement in the economy is in stark contrast to the political speeches.  It is my view that the State is in direct competition with the Private Sector in significant areas of the economy.  The large numbers of State Enterprises are inescapable examples of that.

We have to remember that it wasn’t always so…

Continue reading this article at Afra Raymond’s blog: Property Matters: The business of Government

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2 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Economy, Offshore Investments

2 responses to “Government has no business running business

  1. Islandman

    Rents not paid? And what about those “tenants” that use BIDC units as their own residence, refusing to pay rent and work only when they feel to? Those units are not for productive business people???
    Are many years ( probably more than 20) that BIDC allows those delinquents to do what they like …at taxpayers expences obviously!!

  2. just need to know

    And then many Barbadians have the audacity to complain about Gems. All of politicians do the same thing. Tell me one in this day and age that have not spent taxpayers money like it belong to them. If the people of Clico think they could get back their money, where are they going to find over four hundred million US dollars to pay out what they owe investors. Remember Sam Lords castle is a burnt out shell now, so you only have land to sell, Rayside investments not making enough money even to pay it’s workers, many had to laid off, and they are other investments that are running out of money, such as the insurance, The Credit Union had to take over the mortgage finance, so tll me who will get what? Not in any of our lifetime!