While tax reform laws relating to international business are a step in the right direction, there are still too many hurdles businesses have to face as they try to establish themselves in Barbados.
Speaking on the International Companies (Repeal) Bill 2018, Senator Kay McConney said, “We have been told over and over again that we must improve our practices to make things easier, faster and more efficient in doing business here, and we must create ‘businesses of substance’ which create employment, earn foreign exchange, transfer and upgrade our people’s skills and pay taxes. These include areas such as offshore schools, medical tourism, scientific research, business outsourcing and financial technology as we seek to take this country forward.”
Senator McConney, who is the Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, added that while some Barbadians felt it would be difficult for the country to recover from its current economic challenges, Barbados had shown its resilience in overcoming other difficulties over the years.
“Years ago we faced significant changes in the sugar industry and manufacturing and got through them, and more recently with tourism where we found new target markets and developed new niches, and we will also do it with this sector. We must recognize that this is a volatile and uncertain world, and instead of just settling in one place, we must work to adapt to all the changes that come about by being proactive and building alliances.”
Earlier in her contribution, she gave some background as to why the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) blacklisted Barbados in December 2017 and noted Barbados was still in the process of recovering from this ordeal.
“We were blacklisted in December 2017 after a notice that came out of the council of the European Union which said Barbados had a harmful tax regime that it did not consider amending or abolishing. We were taken off that list in February of this year and asked to make changes by the end of July. However an extension was granted and we now have up until December 31 to do so.”