'Got you covered'
A series of measures, some of which have already started, will be implemented to make life easier for Barbados’ international business sector.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made that pledge to members of the industry this morning as they gathered at Hilton Barbados for the official start of this year’s International Business Conference.
New legislation, additional double taxation treaties, increased promotion led by Invest Barbados and a revised International Business Charter were some of the agenda items highlighted by Stuart.
At the centre of it all was improved business facilitation, an area the Barbados International Business Association has identified as a primary concern.
“We need to make our regulatory framework agile and streamline our non regulatory processes and procedures for faster response,” he said.
“Good facilitation requires, of course, the right coordination and the right leadership for a smooth and effective transition to higher levels of customer service. Even more so it requires a mind set that welcomes, encourages and fosters innovation.
“Standards are essential, and in this regard, I urge that we have in place a revised and functioning International Business Charter by April 2013. Under the remit of the Ministry of International Business I fully expect that the standards established by the revised charter will reflect globally competitive standards,” he added.
Stuart also assured sector participants that Government’s legislative agenda would be flexible for their and the island’s benefit, specifically saying that “because international business is a priority sector, as soon as bills are ready for debate in Parliament they will be place on the House of Assembly’s Order Paper”.
He therefore urged BIBA’s representatives to “continue to collaborate with the Joint Policy Working Group so that together we can ensure that legislative products are finalised in a timely manner and that they remain relevant”.
With the Private Trust Companies Bill and Trustee (Amendment) Bill having been debated in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said he expected debate on “foundations” legislation to “follow shortly”.
“Discussions on limited partnership legislation are advanced and processes are in train to give effect to a full package of wealth management options and incentives for high net worth individuals,” he stated.
Stuart also said the extension of the island’s tax treaty network would “remain high on the government’s agenda”.
“You have surely noticed that in recent months we have been more active in our approach to concluding treaties and have initialed agreements with Bahrain, Singapore, San Marino, the Slovak Republic and Qatar,” the official noted.
“Just last week the Cabinet gave its approval for the Bahrain and Qatar DTAs to be signed at the earliest opportunity.”
He added that before the end of this week “a select committee” would be “examining whether Barbados should enter an inter-governmental agreement with the US government on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act”. (SC)