Inniss defends international business record

Minister Industry, International Business and Commerce Donville Inniss has put up a spirited defence of his ministry’s performance in the international business sector amidst growing criticism that underperformance in that sector has contributed to Barbados’ alarmingly low foreign reserves.

Inniss contends that the fall in revenue from international business in recent years is not a reflection of his ministry’s effort to grow the sector and to suggest otherwise was simply ignorant.

“There is talk about fall in revenues in the international business sector and I see some people getting excited, like politicians who want to hold town hall meetings around the issue. I would advise them to please educate themselves before they talk in the public domain on these matters,” Inniss told Barbados TODAY at the Radisson Aquatica this morning, where he addressed the opening of a regional training workshop on ISO/IEC, a joint technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) whose aim is to develop, maintain and promote standards in the fields of information technology and information and communications technology.

The minister accused his critics of being disingenuous, insisting that stakeholders, as well as both sides of the political divide, had given their blessings to Government’s attempts to increase Barbados’ attractiveness to the international business community.

“The Prime Minister [Freundel Stuart], Minister of Finance [Chris Sinckler] and the [Acting] Central Bank Governor [Cleviston Haynes] said that part of the prolonged economic challenges relates to a fall in corporation taxes from the international business sector. This is absolutely true, but it is not because in recent years we have not been making an effort to attract more businesses to Barbados. It was actually as a result of an amendment to the International Business Companies Act 2010-2011 where the state agreed, supported by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party, BIBA [Barbados International Business Association] and others, that we should lower the rate of tax on certain entities based on income levels,” he said.

Inniss further explained that the sector had been faced with several challenges since Canada, one of its major source markets, changed legislation, which opened up competition from other jurisdictions.

He revealed that as a result a number of offshore companies have left the island, further denting the amount of corporation tax Government collects.

“[It is] as a direct result of the Canadian parliament decision to grant benefits to entities from countries that were afforded tax exchange information similar to what Barbados has with Canada. So Cayman Islands and other jurisdictions that were offering zero taxes to companies, once they sign the tax exchange information exchange agreement with Canada, companies in that domicile that were Canadian owned would get similar benefits to Barbados. Both Government and opposition knew then that it would result in a fall in corporation tax from the international business sector.

“So for anyone to give the impression that there has been a precipitous fall because of some failings on the part of my ministry is really not colliding with the truth,” Inniss argued.

Leader of the fledgling United Progressive Party Lynette Eastmond had earlier this month expressed concern about what she said was the absence of credible statistics on the international business sector in the Central Bank’s report on the performance of the economy for the first nine months of the year.

The country’s foreign reserves plummeted further below the 12 weeks benchmark to reach just 8.6 weeks of import or $549.7 million at the end of September, putting more pressure on the stability of the Barbados dollar.

The international business sector lost over $200 million since 2007, down from over $350 million in 2007 to approximately $100 million, Executive Director of Barbados International Business Association Henderson Holmes said recently.

7 Responses to Inniss defends international business record

  1. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn November 8, 2017 at 4:01 am

    Poor job. Not the right minister for this minestry. A real leader will already remove you from that minestry.

    Reply
  2. Lisa Moore
    Lisa Moore November 8, 2017 at 6:01 am

    *ministry

    Reply
  3. Sean Chandler
    Sean Chandler November 8, 2017 at 9:43 am

    always someone else fault – this song getting real stale

    Reply
  4. Leroy November 8, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Considering you are well aware there was going to be a fall off of intl business sector taxes collected by Gov due to exit of some companies and a reduction in said taxes, what have you put in place to rebuff that situation for the past 8 years?

    And…common sense would dictate that without lower taxes on said companies, the tax take could have been substantially worse because the tax reduction is actually an incentive for businesses to remain here and without that the exit would have been greater.

    So up to now, we have no heard one iota of direction you or Mr Sinckler will take to regain intl business ector, not even a sit down with relevant persons in Canada to lessen the impact of the laws they passed.

    Reply
  5. Helicopter(8P) November 8, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Leroy Barbados is not a manufacturing entity and consumption volume on the Canadian export market is limited. The Global economic climate is hostile and we as Barbadians need to put in place shock absorbents to prevent synclines in performance poly graphics. We are a small economy and will have to let the big economic forces know when we are being rail-roaded and left out of the G forces economic planning. If some major economic forces does not see global warming and climate change as a word economic factor then what else is new. The politicians in some of these World Bank dictators see two things Republics and Banana Republics! Information technology must be on the ball and the minute. Keep on surfing Don!

    Reply
  6. Duane Burke
    Duane Burke November 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Criticizing for criticism sake is not justified. I would suggest that you speak with people in the International Business Sector before commenting or criticizing. I am not defending the Minister just saying to educate yourself on the topic before commenting. Ask the Board Members of BIBA.

    Reply
  7. Bunn November 12, 2017 at 7:21 am

    How can you trust a man that does not disclose all facts? Go and tell it to the Devil!

    Reply

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