Next year the government hopes to relaunch the National Business Bureau, which hasn’t been operational since 2019, Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley said last week in his budget address.

“In this budget, we will see a work management system that will assist us in managing our labour force and ensure that opportunities are there for nationals to have the dignity of a job,” Dr. Wheatley said.
“We will also see the return of the [National] Business Bureau to assist our small businesses to employ themselves and others and deliver goods and services successfully.”

It is unclear, however, how much funding the bureau will receive. In 2022, its estimated budget was $1,842. That number jumped to $21,237 in 2023. Although the 2023 budget estimated the same amount for 2024 and 2025, the 2024 draft budget — which legislators are currently debating in the closed-door Standing Finance Committee — doesn’t include a specified amount.

Deputy Premier Lorna Smith told the Beacon Tuesday that she hopes to secure additional funding for the bureau in the 2024 budget. But opposition member Marlon Penn complained last week that government leaders have been “speaking about” the NBB since 2019.

“[For] years now, we haven’t had a functioning National Business Bureau,” Mr. Penn said. “The claim is that they would have it started back in January, but when you look at the budget, there’s only $21,000 allocated.”


In the 2023 budget, the Department of Trade, Investment Promotion and Consumer Affairs listed the NBB as a subprogramme alongside “Trade Licence Processing” and “Trade Policy Planning and Administration.” The two other subprogrammes were allocated $192,600 and $756,000, respectively.

Now the department has been moved under the Ministry of Financial Services, Labour and Trade, according to the draft 2024 budget.

Last month, Ms. Smith spoke about her plans to “resurrect” the NBB to provide direct benefits for young entrepreneurs.

At the time, she stressed the importance of providing training, business mentorship, micro-financing and other resources to help young entrepreneurs start and expand businesses.