B’DOS TO CLEAR UP CONTENTS OF DOING BUSINESS REPORT
THE Barbados Government intends moving to clear up what are believed to be some misrepresentations in the Report about Doing Business in Barbados. This assurance was given by The Right Hon., Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados while updating the media on discussions at Monday’s meeting of the Social Partnership at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre. Stuart said that while it was agreed that all of the explanations contained in the recent World Bank Report on Doing Business in Barbados would satisfy the most elastic definition of accurate, it was decided that some of the contents of the report could influence people who want to do business in Barbados. “Therefore we have to treat perceptions as reality,” the Prime Minister said. He stated that one area of concern is that when information published in the report is challenged, there have been no responses to the challenges. Stuart noted therefore it is not known who the persons compiling the report had spoken to in Barbados. “We are committed to ensuring that we get to the bottom of it and that Barbados’ position is not perversely misrepresented,” he declared. The Report had put Barbados at position 118 out of 189 countries, which already brought a sharp reaction by Donville Inniss, the Minister of International Business. One of the highlights of the discussions on the Ease of Doing Business in Barbados was a presentation by Mr. Andrew Brathwaite, representing the Private Sector, who zeroed in on the same World Bank Report. Stuart said it was a meeting which should have taken place since May. However, he said that because of certain requests made by the other two partners it was decided to get some pressing issues out of the way before agreeing to convene for Monday’s meeting. Members dealt with a number of issues which Barbados has to deal with, if according to the Prime Minister, Barbados is to make a great leap forward. There was agreement on such issues as the country’s macroeconomic position, and the state of the foreign reserves. He said there were presentations by the Central Bank of Barbados and the Private Sector, which the Prime Minister said got the respect, approval and admiration of the Social Partnership members. He said that they committed themselves to ensuring that the macroeconomic situation does not deteriorate. They also dealt with productivity. “Everyone left the meeting committed to the Social Partnership to guarantee Barbados’ viability,” Mr. Stuart added. Article compliments The Barbados Advocate.
BVI launches new public-private initiative to support financial services industry
BVI Finance Limited, a new public/private initiative that will see the creation of a company to better support financial services promotion and business development in the British Virgin Islands, is set to launch in January 2017, reports Caribbeannewsnow.com The new entity, which will take over from the existing BVI Finance, is part of an ongoing government programme that aims to strengthen and reposition the financial services industry. BVI Finance Limited will operate in keeping with best practice and along similar lines as Jersey Finance, Cayman Finance, Bermuda Development Association and other agencies charged with the promotion of financial services. As a corporate entity under a fundamentally new structure, BVI Finance Limited will have greater autonomy and flexibility in fulfilling its role as the marketing and promotional arm of the financial services industry. Under a partnership agreement to be entered between the government and the private sector, the new organisation will be responsible for promoting financial services as an industry to customers, intermediaries and regulators abroad, as well as by developing new business opportunities to pursue through legislative, regulatory and product changes and innovation. A number of carefully considered objectives have also been designed through consultation for the new organisation, against which it aims to deliver. These include coordinating the efforts of all key private sector stakeholders within financial services, encouraging sustainable growth of financial services through excellence, innovation and balance, as well as promoting and encouraging capability building within the financial services industry. Commenting on BVI Finance Limited, Lorna Smith, interim executive director of BVI Finance, said, “I am delighted to report that preparations for BVI Finance Limited are progressing well and that come January 2017 the new entity will start delivering on its objectives. Having built a leading international finance centre over the last 30 years, BVI Finance Limited will play an important role in ensuring the sustainable future of our financial services industry.” She added, “Moreover, through the establishment of a public/private partnership, BVI Finance Limited will play an even more collaborative and effective role in the way financial services are promoted and marketed.” Brodrick Penn, permanent secretary in the premier’s office also commented, saying, “BVI Finance Limited represents another positive step that we’ve taken to improve representation for the private sector and should be seen as a sign that the BVI is determined to continue creating value and enabling growth by providing a world-class destination for international business and commerce. “I am grateful to members of the private sector for serving on the BVI Finance Ltd taskforce and for contributing their knowledge and experience to the design of a new entity that is fit for purpose and which has been approved by government.” Article compliments IFC Review.
Google gets $400m tax bill from Indonesia
An official in Indonesia wants to collect around $400m in fees from the ads giant. Muhammad Hanif of the tax office special cases branch said authorities have visited Google and suspect that the tax avoidance may go back as far as five years, reports The Register Google had declined an earlier request to be audited. After an investigation, it was accused of failing to pay taxes in the 2015 calendar year and would face a fine of four times the taxes owed: about 5.5 trillion Rupiah, or $418m USD. Further penalties could be issued if Google was found to have similarly avoided paying taxes in previous years. A Google spokesperson told The Reg: “Google Indonesia has been incorporated as a local company in Indonesia since 2011. We have been and will continue to cooperate with the government and have paid all applicable taxes in Indonesia.” Should Google indeed run into tax troubles, it would find itself in familiar company with a rival. Apple has been accused of skirting billions in taxes owed to EU authorities, and the case could end up costing the Cupertino maker of iMovie $14.5bn. Apple has denied any wrongdoing in that case and has vowed to fight what CEO Tim Cook has called a threat to the sovereignty of EU member states. In an unrelated case, Apple has also had to reach into its pocket to cover a $120m tax bill it had not paid on iTunes sales in Japan. Article compliments IFC Review.