Government has moved to grant indefinite licences to operators of international businesses, while at the same time introducing a new fee structure.
The changes would take effect with the proclamation of the International Business (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, which was passed in the House of Assembly this evening.
Mover of the Bill, Minister of International Trade Donville Inniss said the decision to grant indefinite licences will reduce the flood of applications received in the months leading up to December 31 when the document expires.
He said companies that have licences when the law takes effect will only have to pay the prescribed fee and submit the required information for due diligence to be conducted.
As it relates to the fee structure, applicants for licences for international business companies and societies with restricted liability are now required to pay $250 non-refundable.
The licence itself will cost $1,000 with an additional late penalty charge of $1,000.
“Let no one in the industry say that this is in anyway unfair because it has been a request from the service providers and from the players in the industry as well. The reality of it is that we have consulted and this is fair and reasonable and it is not onerous,” the minister said in defence of the changes.
Inniss said members of the International Business Unit have processed a number of applicants for licences that were not collected.
He added, “We must keep our fees to attract more and more business to Barbados.”
Speaking on a related issue, the Minister has been making a case for his ministry not to be involved in regulating the international business sector.
He told legislators that this should be the responsibility of the Financial Services Commission, which has oversight for non-banking institutions.
“The Financial Services Commission should be able to take on the responsibility of regulating the international business companies, societies with restricted liability and those entities currently regulated by the International Business Unit in my ministry and the ministry should focus on policy issues and the broader issues that help to drive and to stimulate the sector going forward,” he explained.
“I know there are always concerns about HR issues and moving people around and so on but the reality about it is that we have to focus on the bigger picture,” the minister insisted.