Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce, has dismissed claims that Barbados is losing a large number of companies engaged in the international business sector.
Boyce issued this denial earlier today while addressing a seminar held by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados on International Business Update – 2012 at Hilton Barbados.
Maintaining that Barbados was still seen as a quality destination, the Government senator said: “We have been able to retain the bulk of companies and increase the number of companies. We must look for opportunities to improve on our performance.”
The Government senator disclosed that Government was looking into the possibility of establishing double taxation treaties with such countries as Korea, Vietnam, West Africa, South Africa, Chile and Brazil.
Stressing that communications played an important role in the international business sector, Boyce said Government was increasing the broadband capacity and establishing more facilities for overseas calls. Boyce disclosed that 4,000 international business companies were currently registered in Barbados. He further disclosed that the sector contributed US$450 million to the local treasury.
Boyce however pointed out that increasingly the sector came under scrutiny forcing Caribbean countries to adopt new standards.
The senator said at present 17 jurisdictions in the Caribbean were now compliant.
Stressing that the international business sector was a highly lucrative one, Boyce cited statistics to bear out his argument, noting that globally, international business was valued at US$1.7 trillion in 2007. He further stated that it experienced a decline in 2008 and 2009, but increased to US$1.2 trillion in 2010 and was projected to be US$1.6 trillion by end of 2012.
The minister noted that initially large multi-national companies were the main investors, but recently small and medium-sized operations were now making a contribution to the country’s foreign reserves.
He expressed the hope that Barbadians would secure more employment in the small and medium-sized international businesses.
He said Government’s Special Entry Scheme was introduced to attract high net-worth individuals to the island, and added that it also hoped that these individuals would set up businesses and buy properties here.
Boyce pointed out that Government had introduced a programme to attract persons of very high skill levels, thereby raising the overall skills in the island.
He maintained that the process of accessing work permits must be speeded up to ensure that the scheme achieved some measure of success, but stressed that under no circumstances would the security of the country be compromised.
The quality of life in any jurisdiction, he noted, played a major role in attracting high net worth individuals and people with very high level skills. He stressed that health facilities, security and political stability, entertainment and recreation facilities must be of a specific quality to attract such persons.