Officials of the international business and financial services sector put aside any concerns they might have had about ongoing changes to the sector, as they came together for an evening of celebration.
Representatives from the offshore sector gathered at George Washington House on Friday night as they shared in the purchasing of gifts and gift giving, as well as partake in Christmas inspired cocktails and canapés.
The celebrations come as the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Welcoming sector officials on behalf of BIBA President Julia Hope, Executive Director Henderson Holmes reminded them that this was the time of year for the association to show its gratitude.
“It’s been a long year and as it comes to an end we really have to be thankful for what has been achieved in 2018. The Prime Minister recently commented that had the Government not taken steps to address the dire economic situation when they did, 10,000 civil servants would have had to go home by December 31. Add to that the number 5,000 working directly or indirectly in the international business sector who would have been affected, had we not met the December 31 BEPS guideline,” he said.
Government is currently racing against time to make critical changes to legislation in an effort to meet Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines and new tax regimes.
The OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative is designed to prevent companies from using planning or tax strategies to avoid taxation or to reduce tax burden in their country by engaging in tax evasions or migrating intangibles to lower tax jurisdictions.
Come next year, both local and offshore companies will be paying the same level of corporation tax, ranging from one per cent to 5.5 per cent.
Lawmakers are busy repealing at least 11 or 14 pieces of legislation to make the jurisdiction fully compliant with the OECD rules.
While lauding the BIBA task force and other stakeholders for their role in helping to make the ongoing changes in the sector a reality, Holmes said without a doubt there was a lot for the sector to celebrate as they came to the end of 2018.
He highlighted the recent annual BIBA International Business Week, stating that the feedback was tremendous.
“We look forward to even greater achievements in 2019,” he said, as he made a toast.