The Ministry with responsibility for International Business is undertaking a detailed self-assessment of its current suite of products to pinpoint inefficiencies and identify strategies to effect change.
This announcement was made today by Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, as he addressed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados’ (ICAB) International Business Workshop at Hilton Barbados Resort.
Mr. Inniss disclosed that a team had been created comprising the leadership of the Financial Services Commission, the Barbados Revenue Authority, the Central Bank of Barbados, the Ministry’s International Business Division, the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), ICAB, International Transport, among others.
This team, he said, would “unravel the issues and to engage on almost a weekly basis with the forum on harmful tax practice of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris”.
Mr. Inniss continued: “I have directed as Minister that all engagements must include representatives of the private sector as you are the ones that are most affected by the outcomes of our deliberations. While I would have wished that such a strategy had been in place from the very beginning, I am heartened by the presence and active participation of at least two senior and very experienced tax practitioners from ICAB.”
“Their presence has made a huge difference to our negotiations but that, of course, is not to dilute the immense work of my staff and other public officers.”
The Commerce Minister also updated ICAB members on the issues that were discussed to date, including ring fencing, double taxation agreements, foreign exchange earning systems, the substance of the businesses operating in Barbados, transfer pricing, and reporting mechanisms.
Describing the international business sector as part of the “bedrock” of the island’s macro economy, Mr. Inniss noted that any attempt to undermine Barbados’ foreign exchange earning capacity, was extremely troubling.
Nonetheless, the Minister admitted that he was heartened by the fact that based on recent discussions on the reform of harmful tax practices in Paris, it appeared that there was growing appreciation for the importance of the sector to Barbados’ economy.
“Now I leave it to the technocrats to provide greater detail on each structure, how they are being viewed and our responses to the form of harmful tax practices. Therefore I have requested of our partner BIBA, that the International Business Division of my Ministry present a detailed report to the BIBA’s forum next Friday and allow for feedback from members,” Mr. Inniss disclosed.
He noted that it was imperative from Government’s end to engage in a manner that fostered constructive dialogue and timely feedback on the sector.