Business Facilitator Promises Improved Dialogue
Government’s newly-appointed Business Facilitator has made it clear that while he will seek to improve communication between Government departments and the business sector, he will not act as a tribunal or arbitrator, making final decisions on outstanding matters. Senator Darcy Boyce, in an address to the Barbados International Business Association last Friday, said: “My role is to ensure misunderstandings are avoided; responses are obtained in a reasonable time; clarifications or explanations are provided as necessary; and that the processing of projects, programmes and business applications receive equitable treatment.” He stressed that Ministries, departments and agencies of Government would continue to make decisions in relation to the projects, programmes and business applications under their sphere of control. Senator Boyce explained that in the short-term, over the next six months or so, he would seek to be an active intermediary between the private sector and Government, in order to find “mutually acceptable solutions to the most pressing and extraordinary unresolved cases.” In the long-term, he said, his goal was to improve and maintain a good working ethos between the public and private sectors. In an effort to improve government-business coordination, he said, he will be working with his fellow Ministers to have Ministries, departments and agencies do more development and communication of operation timelines and guidelines for the provision of normal services. “As we get this done, government officers can better set, manage and deliver on expectations in terms of responses and decisions.” To this end, he disclosed that he would be seeking the agreement of his Cabinet colleagues to have the Facilitation Committee of the Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development collaborate with the Office of Public Sector Reform and the National Initiative of Service Excellence. Their mission will be to work with key departments of Government to redevelop processes that improve the times for delivering service to the public. The Business Facilitator said that he would also encourage Government departments to meet more regularly with the private sector representative bodies so that complex transactions and cases, as well as upcoming process changes, could be examined, discussed and solved in a mutually agreeable manner. Senator Boyce stressed the importance of the private sector participating fully in the process if it was to be a success. “While the world is moving faster every day, many decisions still take time to be made. That time lengthens in the absence of sufficient information. Proactive discussions will go a long way to better guidance, quicker responses and better adherence to timelines,” he advised. He promised that once sufficient background information was provided, he would assist in bringing cases to “the front of the queue” for his colleagues in the public sector to address. Article compliments BGIS.
BVI Premier wants fresh look at relations with UK
Premier of the British Virgin Islands Dr D Orlando Smith has called for the relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and its Overseas Territories (OTs) to be re-framed to become more mutually beneficial, reports BVI News. “[There is need for] re-reframing of the OT-UK relationship to be more mutually beneficial, and take into direct account the priorities of the Territories,” Premier Smith. According to the Government Information Service, the premier also said, now that the UK has voted to leave the European Union in a process dubbed Brexit, the Overseas Territories are more strategically important to the United Kingdom than ever. “The OTS are now more strategically important to Britain than ever before. To remain globally relevant, the UK needs to maintain as large an international footprint as possible. The Territories are integral to the UK having a global presence.” “The political and economic reality of Brexit should bring into clearer focus the value of OTs and our strategic position on security, trade, environment and foreign affairs,” added Premier Smith, who is also president of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association. He made the comments in the Turks and Caicos Islands this month while he attended meetings with other political leaders of Overseas Territories – Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands. The political leaders also discussed plans for their annual Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meeting in the United Kingdom later this year. “We made good progress in preparing for ministerial discussions at the JMC later this year in London,” said Premier Smith, who was accompanied to the Turks and Caicos Islands by his permanent secretary Brodrick Penn and Director of International Affairs. Article compliments IFC Review.
G20 ministers urge tighter tax rules
The world’s major economies need to deepen co-operation on tax collection as companies seek to minimise the amount they pay to governments, finance ministers said, reports AFP. The issue has become controversial in many countries, with multinational firms from Google to Starbucks facing accusations of not contributing appropriately to the economies where they make their money, and multi-billion-dollar merger proposals being partly driven by tax considerations. “When the current cross-border tax rules were developed they were tied to concepts that reflected geography and national boundaries,” US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told G20 finance ministers meeting in the Chinese city of Chengdu. “When we look at technology and cloud computing a lot of that has become harder to define.” “There needs to be a common standard across countries on important issues of transfer pricing,” he said at a high-level symposium on tax policy, adding that countries had to deal “collectively” with issues that lead to non-taxation. Such moves would transform the global business environment, and could see multinational companies paying more tax, cutting returns to shareholders. Closing loopholes, Lew said, would change the choices businesses make. Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei said that enterprise and international trade structures had changed “dramatically, imposing severe challenges to the existing international tax system”. The G20 should promote “international co-ordination and co-operation in taxation”, he said. The G20 has previously supported proposals requiring authorities to share the identities of shell companies’ real owners, and backed creating a blacklist of international tax havens that do not co-operate with information-sharing programmes. But the discussion as the G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs met in Chengdu, in southwestern China, was wider, addressing base erosion and profit shifting, known as BEPS. The term refers to companies using accounting techniques to move their profits to low- or no-tax jurisdictions, reducing the amounts they are liable to pay. Some countries, such as Ireland or Luxembourg, have drawn major firms to establish headquarters or subsidiaries by virtue of their tax rules – a key contributor to Dublin declaring earlier this month that its economy grew by a spectacular 26.3 percent last year. “In the 21st century, talent, capital, and even physical infrastructures are increasingly mobile,” said Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “So, a global conversation on these issues, on tax policy, is obvious… is critical,” he said. But he acknowledged that jurisdiction could be a sensitive subject, adding that tax policy remained a sovereign matter. The seminar – co-hosted by China and Germany, backed by the OECD, and moderated by IMF chief Christine Lagarde – also discussed using tax policy to promote growth. The world economy was in a “new mediocre”, Lagarde said, with science and technological development offering one of the best routes to “something much more positive than that”. Earlier French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told AFP that some countries, “not only China” were “reluctant” on questions of cooperation on tax evasion. Article compliments IFC Review.