Barbados and Canada sign amended air accord
The governments of Barbados and Canada Tuesday signed a reciprocal air transport agreement, which gives designated carriers from both countries “the flexibility to operate without directional or geographical limitations”. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean, who initialed the agreement at her Ministry’s Culloden Road, St Michael offices, along with Canada’s High Commissioner Marie Legault, said the accord should also redound to increased airlift and more long stay visitors from Canada, which is the island’s single largest source market for international business. “The evidence is there that there is a renewed commitment on both our parts to ensure not only that our visitor arrivals increase, but also to facilitate the business transactions that take place between our countries,” McClean said. The new pact replaces the original air services agreement signed between Barbados and Canada in 1985. High Commissioner Legault agreed with Senator McClean that air connectivity was crucial to the promotion of trade and investment between the two countries. “In 2013, 50,000 people came just with Air Canada and in three years we were able to increase that to 81,000 people . . . and it’s increasing every year. So, an instrument like this is essential to make sure there are no barriers between our countries,” Legault said.
Fertility Clinic Encourages Further Medical Tourism Thrust
The Medical Fertility Centre (BFC) has been the island’s leading proponent of medical tourism for the past 15 years, annually attracting hundreds of visitors from the United States, United Kingdom and the Caribbean. The Eastern Caribbean’s lone internationally accredited fertility facility has put Barbados on the map, and is now helping more Barbadians and non-nationals alike to have families. The centre provides egg and embryo freezing, sperm injection, ovulation induction, and intra-uterine insemination. Patients not only receive internationally recognised and accredited treatment, but also spend holidays in Barbados while seeing professionals at the BFC as part of a special package deal. Medical tourism is one of the areas of Barbados’ services economy that needs to be paid some serious attention. That’s the view of Dr. Juliet Skinner and Anna Hosford, co-founders of the Barbados Fertility Centre. They want to see other health-care stakeholders jump on the medical tourism bandwagon as well, and engage in cluster marketing, which would allow the country to better advertise itself as a provider of varied medical care to persons also wishing to travel to a holiday destination. “The fringe tourism markets can only improve, and it’s them that can help protect the ones which are under threat,” Skinner, the centre’s consultant gynaecologist, told the SUNDAY Sun in a recent interview. She believes medical tourism remains the reason the centre’s doors have remained open over the years, and other medical departments need to follow suit. “Without medical tourism, it would not have been financially feasible to have an IVF facility,” Skinner admits. “People thought this would have taken away from local tourism, but it’s the opposite. It adds to it.” Hosford said that Barbados’ reputation as an island paradise was at the forefront of the country becoming a medical tourism leader. “Barbados sells itself,” the Irish clinic director said. “The island is so attractive, and then if you can provide that combined with good medical care, that’s a complete package.” “When we first set this up we had huge Government support and they saw our vision. What we would like to see is other medical tourism products coming to Barbados. It has so much potential for all the reasons Barbados sells itself.” Skinner said the BFC had been the medical tourism flagship carrier for a long time, but that needed to change. “There are areas like orthopaedics, cosmetics, which can make their mark.” Hosford said collaboration is the key to Barbados making a bigger dent in medical tourism. “The future is private medical tourism bodies and hospitals coming here in collaboration with the Government and bring a joint view,” she added. The pair said they believe customers, including those who have returned for repeat cycles if not successful in getting pregnant the first time around, believe in the BFC mostly because of individualised care, and that had allowed the facility to prosper. “We are competing with the world. These people can go almost anywhere for this treatment, and they have chosen Barbados.” “It’s about 15 per cent from Barbados, and the other 85 per cent from overseas,” Skinner revealed about their customer base. “Overall the numbers have increased because our clinic is successful, and more people have shared that both locally and regionally.” (Adapted from the Nation Newspaper) Article compliments Invest Barbados.
Initiatives To Improve Customs & Immigration
Passengers using Barbados’ ports of entry should soon see an improvement in the time it takes to get through Customs and Immigration. Minister with responsibility for Immigration, Senator Darcy Boyce, today announced a number of initiatives aimed at ensuring “quick though secure passage through border control”. Speaking at the opening of a border security training workshop for Immigration and Customs officers, Senator Boyce said that shift systems at the ports of entry would be redesigned to ensure that the Customs and Immigration counters were fully staffed during peak periods. In addition, he has asked that discussions be held with the Ministry of the Civil Service and trade unions to facilitate the process. The Ministry is also continuing to work on an initiative which involves the installation of 14 Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks in the Arrivals Hall at the Grantley Adams International Airport, aimed at significantly decreasing the waiting times of arriving passengers in the terminal. The kiosks, which, according to the Minister, are expected to be activated later this year, will give passengers the option of inputting the required Customs and Immigration information electronically. International airports using the system have reported a 40 to 50 per cent drop in the wait times, Senator Boyce told his audience. Another initiative expected to help improve security and processing times, the Minister revealed, related to the provision of advanced passenger information by carriers coming into Barbados, and the Ministry was working to ensure that this was effectively provided. He added that work was also ongoing on a project to provide technology which would enable the Customs Department to improve and increase surveillance of luggage and cargo in less time in order to improve security and increase facilitation. Senator Boyce told the workshop participants that relevant training also remained a priority and, in addition to the current workshop, other training opportunities were forthcoming in areas such as fraudulent document detection and e-passports. The week-long border security workshop is sponsored by the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), in collaboration with the European Union and the United States Customs and Border Protection. The training is expected to improve interviewing techniques, fraudulent document inspection, body language analysis, and luggage and person examination. It will also enhance the capacity of border security officials to identify and intercept persons, goods or vessels travelling across borders by illicit means or with illicit intent; improve screening techniques to reduce wait times at checkpoints; and reduce litigation and poor publicity that might result from interaction with immigration or customs officials. Article compliments
Investment interest in Barbados continues
The recession has not chased investors away from our shores nor is the financial situation at present keeping them away. The Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss and Invest Barbados are assuring Barbadians that investments are still coming. At the grand opening ceremony for the Barbados Entertainment Complex (BEC) in the Warrens Industrial Park, Inniss told the media and those gathered that he welcomes investment such as this project. The BEC is a Canadian-owned company owned and operated by W.A. Ventures and Enterprise Inc. Speaking about the level of investment enjoyed by Barbados and the significance of this investment by W.A. Ventures and Enterprise, Inniss shared: “Barbados has been the home, or the third largest recipient of foreign investment coming out of Canada in recent years. The last figures I saw up to two years ago, this little island was managing assets of businesses with a value of about $77Billion Canadian… “That is not money in Barbados, that is just the value of the entities that are Barbados-based and Canadian-owned and doing business internationally. So Canada remains our main source market in the international business sector. That is based on the treaty that we have in place with Canada and it has worked really well.” He thanked W.A. Ventures for taking advantage of the treaty and the opportunity because, as he said: “It shows to the world that this little island sitting out here in the Eastern Caribbean is playing a very significant role in global business. The fact remains that outside of the UK and the USA, Barbados is the preferred domicile for Canadian businesses to go global says a lot.” In the midst of everything, the Minister called on Barbadians to note and celebrate these investments as well. “Sometimes we don’t really take time out as Barbadians to be positive about what is happening and there are others outside of our domain who really recognise what we have to offer and using Barbados as a conduit through which their legitimate businesses can grow and expand globally,” he lamented. From Invest Barbados, Senior Business Development Officer Adrian Sealy told Loop News: “Sharon [Anthony, one of the Managing Directors of BEC] identified the project in Toronto through our offices in Toronto, and from there then she came down to Barbados to help identify the best possible location for the project and in doing so, one of our mandates is to facilitate new investment into Barbados. “So once we understood the concept of what she wanted to achieve we then set about identifying where it is possible to setup such a location and what properties were available.” Beyond BEC though, he added, “There are still a lot of companies interested in Barbados and not only as the Minister said, from the brick and mortar perspective, from the financial services arena as well. You might not see us in the same light as this particular project because financial services are in itself a smaller component of an office space. So you’ll find that they employ persons and you don’t hear about it as much but you see the spinoffs from the investments through the incorporation of the companies and the assistance that they would’ve received from attorneys and from Invest Barbados through the development of the project as it goes along.” Taking a moment, to acknowledge the role being played by Invest Barbados in the fight to gain more and secure more investors, Minister Inniss urged: “Quite often people don’t appreciate what public officers do especially those who are stationed abroad to get out there through the snow, through the hail, through the summer, whatever to knock on doors and get businesses to come to Barbados. “I spent three years in New York City covering half of the United States promoting Barbados as a place to do business, and I know sometimes months passed and you don’t get a good one, so when you land one you gotta thank God you got it and you feel good.” Article compliments LOOP News Barbados.
Gov’t Looking To Expand Rum Industry
The Government of Barbados has initiated a project which is geared towards the expansion of the country’s rum industry. Word of this came from Commerce Minister, Donville Inniss, on Monday, as he delivered the feature address at a reception and tasting of Authentic Caribbean Brands. The event was hosted by the Directors of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association Inc. (WIRSPA), at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa. Mr. Inniss stated that the objective of the initiative was two-fold: transitioning the industry’s output of bulk rum to branded rum; and engaging stakeholders in a strategic partnership to expand the market share of the local brands in the hospitality sector. Explaining that there were three components to the programme, the Minister noted that this would include a geographic indicator of Barbados’ rums, supported by a Barbados Rum Marque, which would become a certifying seal of approval. The other components, he revealed, included the repositioning of the industry to incrementally convert bulk rum to primarily branded rum; and embarking on an ongoing promotional campaign in the tourism sector to secure Barbados Rum Brands as a spirit of choice across hotels and bars. “I am proud to say that this initiative has begun to bear fruit with the successful completion of the inaugural Barbados Sugar and Rum Season. This event was held during the period February 1 to April 1, 2017, under the auspices of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority. …Its objective was geared towards enhancing the island’s cultural heritage, particularly rum and sugar, and culinary tourism product offerings,” he disclosed. Mr. Inniss also revealed that statistics for the period 2012 to 2016 showed that Barbados’ exports of rum to one of its lucrative markets – the European Union, stood at approximately BDS $89.9 million. He pointed out that the industry continued to provide valuable foreign exchange and revenue; supported the sustainability and linkages of many other businesses within the agro-processing and tourism industries; and contributed significantly to job creation. Article compliments BGIS.
Creditors ask court to limit Puerto Rico’s authority over its bank account
OppenheimerFunds, Franklin Advisers, Inc., and the First Puerto Rico Family of Funds asked Judge Laura Taylor Swain on Monday to limit the limit the authority of the banks in which the government has its accounts to continue honoring transfers, deposits and withdrawals. “Any order entered in connection with the Bank Transaction Motion must avoid providing banks with broad releases of liability,” the creditors said. The petition is contained in a motion in which the entities are objecting the government’s motions on how its bankruptcy process should be managed. The entities are holders of bonds from Puerto Rico and its instrumentalities. The Family of Funds are holders of over $3.5 billion in bonds from the Sales Tax Financing Corp. (Cofina by its Spanish acronym), and over $3.6 billion of other uninsured bonds issued by the Commonwealth and other territorial instrumentalities, including over $1.8 billion in uninsured Commonwealth general obligation bonds, making them one of the largest creditor group. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Cofina by and through the Financial Oversight & Management Board for Puerto Rico had asked the court for an order confirming the authority of their banks to continue honoring all transactions without incurring in liability days after filing for Title III bankruptcy. The creditors said provisions that appear to insulate the banks from virtually any form of liability so long as they are acting in response to the government’s instructions, must be stricken or narrowed. “An order meant to provide comfort that section 363 does not apply should not mislead a Bank into believing that it is relieved of existing obligations or duties, and any resulting liability therefore,” they said. They noted that Promesa provides that if property is transferred in violation of a pledge, the transferee is liable for the transfer. “A bank which serves as an intermediate transferee may be liable under Promesa. This is an issue which should be resolved after a full and fair opportunity to be heard, not as part of a first-day administrative order,” they said.
Air Canada adds St Vincent and Belize to new routes
Air Canada has announced its first ever international flight to St Vincent. The air carrier has also added Belize to its list of new destinations. Air Canada will be flying to St Vincent’s new Argyle International Airport weekly on Thursdays on an Airbus A319 operated by Air Canada’s Rouge brand, from December 14 to April 12. Air Canada will also have weekly Friday flights from Toronto to Belize City, operating on an Airbus A319, also on Rouge. “Air Canada is continuing its strategic, global expansion with a diverse range of exciting new non-stop routes this winter,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada. “The addition of the first long-haul, international scheduled service to St. Vincent in the Caribbean offers new choices for travellers looking to escape Canadian winters.” Air Canada is boosting its 2017-18 schedule with six new seasonal routes, including five on Air Canada Rouge – Vancouver-Orlando, Toronto-Belize, Toronto-St. Vincent, Montreal-Lima and Montreal-Phoenix – and one on Air Canada (Vancouver-Melbourne). Article compliments LOOP News Barbados.
ECCB Governor: ‘Post-truth’ world poses challenge to leaders
The Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank says it is of utmost importance is for those in the industry to raise their leadership capacity since in every sphere since “leadership matters – always has and always will.” Governor Timothy Antoine, in addressing the Imperatives for Financial Sector Development in the Caribbean, says this is one of three imperatives that needs to be considered as the financial sector in the Caribbean continues to focus on development. Delivering the keynote address at the Domestic Financial Institutions Conference, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, he said: “In this period of rapid global change and heightened uncertainty, we need to fully grasp the fundamental distinction between leadership and management.” He says management is running a business while leadership is changing a business and at the core of leadership is dealing with change – something that the financial sector deals with every day. “Our leadership in the financial sector assumes even greater significance in the world in which we now live, a world that is increasingly described as a post-truth world,” he stated. He noted that in this “post-truth world”, fake news and alternative facts – properly described as untruths and lies – are gaining currency. He says while he agrees with those who may argue that a post-truth world is not a new phenomenon, what is of concern to the financial sector is the pace, potency and pervasiveness of social media – “a phenomenon that is now game changer, which can be a blessing and a curse.” “Somebody might be wondering, why I am going there. But, the reality is that all our plans and our hard work can be undermined in seconds by the phenomenon of fake news. So these are not things which we can ignore where we sit,” he said. He said it is for this reason why risk management and business continuity function must be broadened and become more agile to anticipate and address the ever-growing volume of half-truths, post-truths, alternative facts and fake news. “We ought to ensure that our decision-making is premised on facts rather than fake news. We have to get our facts straight given the far-reaching impact of our decisions in the financial sphere, and we have to be active rather than reactive operators in the sphere of public communication and information,” Governor Antoine cautioned. The Conference, now in its eighth year, is an annual one-day conference that provides a forum for senior officials from the financial services sector to discuss domestic and international matters that have implications for the local landscape. Article compliments LOOP News Barbados.
EU agrees double taxation dispute resolution system
The proposal sets out to improve the mechanisms used for resolving disputes between member states when disputes arise from the interpretation of agreements on the elimination of double taxation, reports CCH Daily. Edward Scicluna, minister for finance of Malta, which currently holds the Council presidency, said: ‘This directive is an important part of our plan for strengthening tax certainty and improving the business environment in Europe.’ The draft directive requires dispute resolution mechanisms to be mandatory and binding, with clear time limits and an obligation to reach results. The aim is to create a tax environment where compliance costs for businesses are reduced to a minimum. The text allows for a ‘mutual agreement procedure’ to be initiated by the taxpayer, under which member states must reach an agreement within two years. If the procedure fails, an arbitration procedure is launched to resolve the dispute within specified timelines. For this, an advisory panel of three to five independent arbitrators is appointed together with up to two representatives of each member state. The panel (advisory commission) issues an opinion for eliminating the double taxation in the disputed case, which is binding on the member states involved unless they agree on an alternative solution. The Council endorsed a number of options covering some issues. For example, while it has agreed on a broad scope for the types of cases which can be considered, there is the option, on a case-by-case basis, of excluding disputes that are judged not to involve double taxation. It also agreed the pool of independent arbitrators must be made up of ‘independent persons of standing’. Arbitrators must not be employees of tax advice companies or have given tax advice on a professional basis. Unless agreed otherwise, the panel chair must be a judge. In addition, the Council left open the possibility of setting up a permanent structure to deal with dispute resolution cases if member states so agree. Agreement on the proposals was reached at a meeting of the economic and financial council. The Council will adopt the directive once the European Parliament has given its opinion. Member states will have until 30 June 2019 to transpose the directive into national laws and regulations. It will apply to complaints submitted after that date on questions relating to the tax year starting on or after 1 January 2018. The member states may however agree to apply the directive to complaints related to earlier tax years. CCCTB proposals The same meeting of the economic and financial council also discussed a proposal for a common corporate tax base (CCTB) in the EU, aimed at reducing the administrative burden of multinational companies. This would form the first step of an envisaged two-step corporate tax reform, which has proved controversial when originally put forward. Revamping an earlier 2011 proposal, it establishes a single rulebook for calculating companies’ corporate tax liability. The presidency confirmed its intention to continue discussions on new elements of the proposal, and that an appropriate degree of flexibility should be provided for. A separate proposal on tax consolidation (CCCTB) will be considered without delay once the CCTB rulebook has been agreed. The Council will require unanimity to adopt the directive, after consulting the European Parliament.
Uganda: How tax incentives can make or break an economy
Tax incentive is an exemption from a tax liability, offered as an enticement to engage in a specified activity such as an investment for a certain period, reports New Vision. Governments argue that tax incentives stimulate employment and development by making the country competitive as a destination for foreign investment. However, tax incentives have doubled-edged impacts on the economy. The measures may not only promote trade or particular sectors in the economy but will also result into revenue loss. Research suggests that developing countries do not need to grant tax incentives and exemptions to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Because the decision to invest is largely based on the country’s overall investment climate. This view is emphasised in a 2012 study conducted by SEATINI-Uganda which established that tax incentives appear to have a contradictory impact on the economy. For example, in the year 2009/10, tax exemptions resulted into a direct loss of 3.99% tax to GDP ratio. Without the exemptions, the tax to GDP ratio would have reached a level of 16.15%, according to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development report of 2011. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has discovered that some of the tax incentives and exemptions that Government is granting are unhealthy for the economy, and has continuously encouraged government to reduce tax incentives. At the start of 2017, the media has been awash with reports of the amount of tax that government has paid in respect to the tax exemptions. This year the Government will spend sh77b to pay taxes for Bidco Oil Refineries Ltd, Aya Investments Ltd, Steel and Tube, Cipla Quality Chemicals, Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd and Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd. This is as a result of tax exemptions/incentives given to these companies. The amount of money being paid in taxes for these companies could do boost sectors like trade that have been allocated a dismal sh94.39b which amounts to 0.4% of the sh28,252.5 trillion National Budget FY2017/18. Tax incentives and exemptions equals to tax foregone and ultimately has to be paid by someone else. Parliament needs to review Article Section 77(1)-(2), of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), 2015, which allows the responsible minister to award tax exemptions and there after report and justify the award to Parliament. This limits parliament oversight role before exemptions and incentives are awarded. Therefore, there needs to be a more transparent approach of giving incentives and exemptions which would provide for more scrutiny and debate by decision makers and all stakeholders. Government and civil society need to conduct a comparative cost benefit analysis of all tax exemptions/incentives that have been given thus far to ascertain whether they have benefitted the country. Most importantly is, the Government of Uganda should withdraw all tax incentives it has given and have not served their intended purpose. Article compliments IFC Review.
Macron to be tough in Brexit talks, but won’t seek to punish UK: economic adviser
France’s President-elect Emmanuel Macron will be tough in negotiations over the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union but will not seek to punish Britain, his economic adviser said on Monday. Jean Pisani-Ferry said that no-one had an interest in a hard Brexit that totally severs ties between Britain and the rest of the European Union once it leaves, saying there was a mutual interest in maintaining economic and security ties. “At the same time, we have divergent interests on some aspects of the negotiations. So there will be a tough negotiation and he will be tough,” Pisani-Ferry told BBC Radio, adding that Macron would not seek retribution against Britain for leaving the EU even as he looked to strengthen the bloc. “Punish? Certainly not. But he believes that today that Europe is part of the solution to the problems we’re facing.” Article compliments Yahoo News!
Save the Date: BIBA Networking Mingle (June 24th, 2016)
The Barbados International Business Association will be hosting its third Networking Mingle on June 26th, 2016. Further details to come closer to the event.
Save the Date: BIBA Networking Mingle (April 22nd, 2016)
The Barbados International Business Association will be hosting its second Networking Mingle of the year on April 22nd, 2016. Further details to come closer to the event.
Save the Date: BIBA Networking Mingle (June 24th, 2016)
The Barbados International Business Association will be hosting its third Networking Mingle on June 26th, 2016. Further details to come closer to the event.
Remarks by Mr Gregory McConnie, President – BIBA Business Forum: March 31st, 2017
Remarks by Mr Gregory McConnie, President Barbados International Business Association BIBA Business Forum: Is the Barbados International Business Sector Under Attack? Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St Michael March 31st, 2017 Protocol having being established, good morning ladies and gentlemen and thank you for joining us for this very timely and important Business Discussion Forum. There is much anxiety surrounding Barbados’s current economic situation, and with good reason. And as we cast our minds towards solutions and strategies for recovery we become painfully aware that challenges we are facing are both external and, sad to say, internal. Within these shores, ease of doing business remains one of our biggest downfalls. We have not shown ourselves capable of delivering consistent service in order to meet the expectations of international clients in establishing and/or operating their businesses here or domestic ones for that matter. This is evidenced in the 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Report which placed the island at 72nd out of 138 countries when it came to competitiveness. The World Economic Forum’s report showed that Barbados had slipped 17 places since 2014. It also listed some of the factors which hinder the smooth flow of doing business on the island, including “poor work ethic in the national labour force” and “inefficient Government bureaucracy”. The two recent downgrades in the credit rating of the country from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s and the response to them from some of our leaders, together with the public dispute and eventual dismissal of Dr Worrell as Governor of the Central Bank, have not only deservedly generated a lot of national concern and discussion, but are no doubt having a negative impact on the country’s image as a place for doing business. We have much work to do to restore that image and get these metrics moving in the right direction. But getting it right can produce great rewards and contribute to a turnaround in our fortunes in respect of the growing national debt and the shrinking foreign reserves. However, there are also significant external, unpredictable and uncontrollable factors that are creating a challenge for the international business sector. Numerous articles and news reports, mostly international, have been published labelling Barbados as a tax haven. Just this year the country was placed on a blacklist by the UK-based aid and development charity Oxfam as one of the world’s 15 worst tax havens. Investipedia, a leading source of financial content for the web, has Barbados listed among the Top 10 Caribbean Tax Havens even though it mentions that “Barbados is not a pure tax haven” adding that “it is a very low-tax environment for offshore corporations incorporated in Barbados.” However, it is the rhetoric coming out of our number #1 investing jurisdiction, Canada, that is most worrisome. The concern began last year with the new Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and his administration, whose plan is to spend a considerable amount on the Canadian Revenue Agency so it can tackle what the public perceives as Canadian businesses and individuals who park their money in low-tax jurisdictions like Barbados and don’t contribute their ‘fair share’. The rhetoric continued with bodies such as the Canadians for Tax Fairness which estimated that “wealthy individuals and corporations shifted CAN$270 billion into the world’s tax havens resulting in an annual revenue loss to the Canadian government of about CAN$8 billion”. Executive Director, Dennis Howlett, who also serves with the Global alliance for Tax Justice, claims that the top Canadian “haven of choice” is Barbados where Canadians have parked nearly CAN$80 billion. Much of the discussion in the media demonstrates a lack of understanding of the true nature of the issues and policy considerations that have led to the growth of Canadian international business. As the number one jurisdiction where Barbados gets most of its business, has this relationship been ruined or adversely affected? If so, what restorative action should we take now? On the UK front the impact of Brexit is also a concern particularly with the fall in value of the British currency and the impact that it can have on local tourism business. Also with the UK making noises about reduced tax rates will London be soon branded a tax haven by the EU as well? Are there opportunities for Barbados in the fall out from Brexit? As it relates to the new US administration, what are the implications for Barbados? Will the recent failure of the attempt to repeal or amend Obamacare negatively impact President Trump’s ability to proceed with other initiatives on his agenda? Particularly those related to deregulation of business and tax reform? Is his planned deregulation and tax reform a good or bad thing for us in the context of his ‘America First’ stance? So today we explore these questions under the umbrella question, is the Barbados international business sector under attack? This question will no doubt be thoroughly explored by the impressive line-up of speakers we have this morning. We look forward to the very dynamic discussions from all of our panels and we sincerely thank all of the panellists for taking the time out to participate in this forum today. Thank you and have a great day.
Statement On The Barbados Economy
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, colleagues, fellow Barbadians listening to this media conference over the various broadcast systems, a pleasant good afternoon to all of you. Let me begin by expressing on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs our sincere wishes for a healthy, productive and rewarding 2017 to all Barbadians. I would like in particular to register our appreciation for your support and cooperation during the course of the past year. Not unlike many other countries across the world 2016 was one of mixed fortunes for Barbados. On the one hand we witnessed an acceleration of real growth in our economy with an estimated 1.6 % expansion in the GDP, when compared to the 0.8 % level of growth in 2015. Indeed, this is the first year in which all major economic sectors, led by a resurgent tourism sector registered positive growth in the same year since the great global financial crisis of 2008. At the same time low inflation, a continuing decline in the rate of unemployment, and a seeming pick up in foreign direct investment albeit muted, painted positive signs that the recovery in the real economy was not a passing sensation, but an indisputable fact that a real economic turnaround was beginning to set in… To download the full statement from Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, please click here. Article compliments BGIS.
Mr. Gregory McConnie – President’s Address BIBA Luncheon Seminar July 22, 2016
President’s Address BIBA Luncheon Seminar July 22, 2016 by Mr. Gregory McConnie BIBA President Protocol having being established, good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and thank you for joining us for our luncheon seminar. It gives me great pleasure to greet all of you this afternoon. I must truly thank Senator the Hon. Darcy Boyce for taking the time out to engage and inform us about the function of his new role, the approaches he intends to employ, as well as receive feedback on the very serious issues affecting the way business is done in Barbados. The topic is a timely one as business facilitation is in our view the most pressing issue to be addressed. We see two main elements to business facilitation, certainty of process and agility. All users of services provided by both the private and public sectors require consistency and certainty of process in order to be able to effectively manage their affairs. This means having timeframes within which transactions are processed and delivering on them, every time. This is particularly important for the international investor where Barbados is competing against other jurisdictions for their business. Barbados must demonstrate that it can meet the high standards of service expected by international business investors and practitioners, and that it can do so consistently if it is to continue to be perceived as a high quality jurisdiction. Agility, the other aspect of business facilitation that is vital to being able to compete effectively for international business, includes initiating and implementing legislative changes and effecting the relevant business process changes in relatively short timeframes after new legislation is passed. While other jurisdictions have been able to implement new initiatives quickly, like the new LLC legislation recently passed in the Cayman Islands and similar legislation planned for Bermuda, in Barbados the Private Trust Companies and Foundations vehicles legislation have been passed but still cannot be utilized and the implementation of Incorporated Cell Company legislation has not been smooth. Our timeframes for execution must be measured in days and weeks rather than months and years. Wherever there is adversity there is generally also opportunity, and amongst the externally imposed challenges arising from BEPS, the Panama Papers and “de-risking” opportunity lies. There is no doubt in my mind that the IB Sector in Barbados can take advantage of these to expand and grow exponentially under the right conditions. However, we need to step up our game if we are to really take advantage of the opportunities available. Just this week the Central Bank of Barbados released its review of Barbados’ economic performance for the first six months of 2016. Part of the review stated that there was a 3 percent decline in the number of international business and financial services (IBFS) licenses granted during the first half of the year. Of course we know that this statistic by itself is not cause for alarm because many new companies doing international business are opting to operate as regular Barbados companies to take advantage of our tax treaties, rather than as licensed entities. However, one of the main statements made by Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell which stood out was that Barbados’ foreign exchange reserves fell by a further $43 million to $884 million. It has fallen consistently over the past 5 years by about 40% from the 2011 levels of $1.4 billion. It should be known by now that the international business sector is the most reliable and consistent earner of foreign exchange for Barbados. This sector contributes has been $1billion to Barbados Gross Domestic Product annually. That is all foreign exchange because this sector earns no revenue from Barbados. Again, there is potential but we need to address business facilitation issues first and we need to address them immediately. Therefore, BIBA welcomes the recent appointment of Senator Boyce to provide that dedicated effort towards reducing, if not eliminating, the difficulties currently being experienced in doing business on this island. In support of Senator Boyce’s business facilitation role, BIBA intends to work collaboratively with the key Government departments to ensure that everyone involved understands the potential that the IB sector holds for Barbados’s growth, while we seek to understand the challenges those departments face when interacting with the private sector and share with them the challenges the private sector encounters, with the intention of working together to develop solutions to the issues identified. As a nation celebrating 50 years of independence we need to commit ourselves to making Barbados the easiest place for doing business in the world. This is not just the responsibility of the government but it should be a national commitment so that every man and woman sees himself or herself as having a responsibility for making this a reality and will approach their work whether it be in the private or public sector with a mindset that says I am helping to generate business activity in my country that will lead to the creation of jobs, and the generation of government revenues that will go towards financing healthcare, education and other social programmes. Thank you for your time and interest.
New Location for BGIS, FTC
Members of the public are advised that the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) has relocated to the Old Town Hall Building, Cheapside, Bridgetown, and has changed its telephone numbers. The PBX is now 535-1900, while the Chief Information Officer may be reached at 535-1917. The Deputy Chief Information Officer may be contacted at 535-1939, and the BGIS’ new fax number is 535-1937. Additionally, effective Monday, March 13, the offices of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) will be temporarily relocated to the 2nd floor, Cedar Court, Wildey, St. Michael. The FTC’s telephone number remains 424-0260. Article compliments Invest Barbados.
Canada’s Only Captives & Corporate Insurance Summit
BIBA is delighted to be a partner with the 13th Annual Canadian Captives & Corporate Insurance Strategies Summit. Risk Managers: Maximize Insurance ROI, Mitigate Risks and Reduce Costs It is the must-attend event for risk managers, current and prospective captive owners, captive managers, and others working in risk management and corporate insurance. Whether you’re just considering a captive or looking to fine tune your captive strategy, this conference has something to offer you. Keep abreast of regulatory changes, tax updates and innovative investment strategies. Learn and network with industry experts including: Gary Pearce, Vice President Risk Management, Kelly Services Inc. Bruce Langille, Managing Director of Risk Management & Security Services, Province of Nova Scotia Cynthia Johansen, Registrar/CEO, College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia Zach Finn, Director, Davey Risk Management & Insurance Program, Butler University Dan Kugler, VP Enterprise Risk Management, The REV Group Develop a blueprint to realize cost savings, maximize insurance ROI, investigate domicile opportunities and much more! Ensure you know how to enhance your insurance risk capabilities. Download the Brochure Now Register with VIP Discount Code BIBA20 to receive 20% off registration* View Speakers Register Now Why Attend To register or ask a question: Call: 1 (866) 298-9343 x 200 Email: email@example.com Website: www.captivesinsurance.com See you at the Summit! The BIBA Team Follow the summit on Twitter: @RiskInsuranceCA Join the LinkedIn Group: Canadian Captives & Corporate Insurance Strategies *Discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and is only valid on new registrations
STATEMENT FROM THE BARBADOS PRIVATE SECTOR ASSOCIATION FOLLOWING THE SOCIAL PARNTERSHIP MEETING ON FRIDAY MARCH 4 2017
The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) has for many months expressed its concern about the financial situation facing Barbados and therefore welcomed participation in today’s meeting of the Social Partnership on the economy of Barbados held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Following an informative presentation by the Acting Governor of the Central Bank, Cleviston Haynes and submissions by the Prime Minister and other leaders of government, labour and the private sector, the BPSA is encouraged that the parties have come to consensus on the seriousness and urgency of the financial situation and agreement to jointly chart a path forward. The BPSA firmly believes that we must collectively move beyond talk to establish and implement clear strategies and action plans for recovery which will be critical to building confidence within the local private sector and the general public and externally among investors and the international financial community. It is also our hope that each citizen can be inspired to play their part in a recovery for their own benefit and that of our beloved country. In today’s Meeting of the Social Partnership there was consensus that the downward trajectory of the foreign reserves and the persistently high fiscal deficit should be prioritised for immediate action. Two working groups were set up to deal with these two matters, and the BPSA has assigned representatives. In this regard, Roseanne Myers, President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and Donna Wellington, President of the Bankers’ Association have been appointed to the Foreign Reserves Working Group while David Small from the Banking Sector and Charles Herbert, Chairman of the BPSA will serve on the Fiscal Deficit Working Group. The BPSA is also committed to participating in the proposed Economic Advisory Council, if asked and six Efficiency Teams under the Barbados /Competitiveness Action Team Framework to look at operating efficiency within various Government departments. It was agreed that these working groups which met immediately following today’s morning session will provide analysis and report back to the Chairman of the Social Partnership thereafter to produce recommendations for further action. The recommendations will go to Cabinet within two weeks with the first recommendations and continue of Barbados for immediate consideration and response. The BPSA stands ready to support implementation wherever possible.
BIBA Director awarded Vice-President designation from RBC Dominion Securities
Congratulations BIBA Director Mr N. Elliott Barrow on being awarded the Vice-President designation from RBC Dominion Securities. This prestigious designation recognizes Elliott’s long-standing success and his commitment to client satisfaction and performance. Please see the official Press Release here.