Many investors who I have spoken to either already have an operation in progress or have an idea of the type of operation they would like to be involved in. They would visit us at IDA to gather information on how we would be able to assist them with their ventures and most, if not all, have been quite receptive to the information that we have provided to them even though some think that we give money or grants.
There are times when I would be visited by someone who is seeking guidance and would want to know what areas/industries are good for investment and we would also provide this information to them which is normally taken in a positive manner. In addition we would sometimes make suggestions that they would not have thought of or considered which would add value to their business in an attempt to improve the quality of their operation.
Most investors are pleased to hear our ideas and information about how IDA can be off assistance, which in turn results in them applying for concessions through IDA. We would then assist investors with their projects from the idea stage to the finished product and then provide a variety of aftercare services. However, there are challenges faced when dealing with various types of investors.
There are times when their business ideas would not fall under the Fiscal Incentives Act and we would not be able to assist them. I believe this has limited the number of applications that we have processed in the past and broadened our current scope of business types that we service. In addition, at times, investors will not comply with requests or recommendations made by IDA or other government offices and thus withdraw their applications. Also at times they will not inform us of negative factors affecting their operations when we might have been able to assist.
Many foreign and local investors have expressed frustrations with the local government and their attitudes and willingness to assist business people. Some foreign investors have expressed that they would not invest in a country that does not have certain infrastructural amenities in place, like easy air access, proper roads and proper hospital facilities to name a few. Whereas a lot of local business investors have express frustrations concerning access to finances at reasonable interest rates which will assist with their projects.
These are some of the challenges that we face and we do strive to work not just with investors but with government in order to facilitate further investment in Dominica. Overall, my interactions with investors have been positive regardless of the challenges which we try to overcome daily.
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