Barbados’ international business and financial services sector is about to get a major boost.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley revealed that the state-owned economic development agency, Invest Barbados, would be given additional resources to adequately market the jurisdiction “in a very aggressive way” in order to attract more international business.
This marketing effort, she said, would be done in collaboration with the private sector.
And while Mottley did not give an indication of how much funds would be injected into Invest Barbados for the new marketing thrust, she said it would be supported by the new tax regime, legislation, quality of life in Barbados, political stability, security and cyber security.
“All are part of the critical equation to be able to make people want to do business here and to make people believe that they too can see Barbados as their domicile of choice in engaging the world,” Mottley told the 20th anniversary reception of the Cidel Bank & Trust Inc. at Sandals Barbados on Monday.
“To that extend, I have agreed to be able to make available to Invest Barbados, because of the new regime, additional marketing resources . . . We recognize that the business of marketing in this sector has always been best when it is conducted not just by government but by the private sector and government working cooperatively to be able to get the word out there,” she said.
Barbados recently established a new tax regime, where both local and international businesses are charged the same corporate tax rates on a sliding scale of between zero and 5.5 per cent depending on the taxable income of the company.
There have also been changes to several pieces of legislation governing the international business and financial services sector.
All this is in response to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Forum on Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP), which monitors and reviews tax practices of member countries.
Last week Minister of International Business Ronald Toppin announced in New York, at an international tax conference with stakeholders, that he received confirmation from the OECD that supported the legislative changes that were made by the December 31, 2018 deadline.
“We can move forward with the absolutely critical job of now marketing our products in a very aggressive way, to have as many people seek to do business in Barbados just as Cidel has been doing for the last 20 years,” said Mottley.
The prime minister said it was also agreed recently that clear timelines would be established for all activities of the Immigration Department, and that there would be increased use of technology across the various government agencies and departments in order to create greater efficiency.
“I have every confidence that my government, if working with you (private sector) in partnership over the course of the next 12 months, will make a significant difference to the quality of the environment and the speed of the environment across the entire sector,” she said.
“We also hope that with the Doing Business Report we can begin to see major changes,” she added, while pointing to the new Planning and Development Act, which she said should also contribute significantly to the ease of doing business in Barbados.
“We have already committed to the process of working and restructuring our Corporate Affairs [and Intellectual Property Office],” added Mottley, while indicating that issues relating to national and border security were also being tackled.