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A week ago, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley significantly changed the way forward for this country when she gave a Ministerial Statement on how the business sector will be taxed.
This was significant in many ways and should benefit all Barbadians.
It sends a message to all Barbadian firms which have their holding companies outside of the country – whether in Bermuda, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands or The Bahamas – to relocate them here.
The Government should also be on a mission to get thousands of companies from Jamaica to Trinidad and Guyana, as well as all other places in between, to put their holding companies in Barbados.
The Prime Minister’s action has signalled that Barbados is an attractive location which offers a stable legal, political and economic system with a very attractive tax regime, backed by an extensive tax treaty network. We should now be in compliance with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), its demands on our tax system and its drive for integration in what is fast becoming a digital economy. There is nothing harmful about Barbados today.
Mottley has signalled that Barbados is prepared to be part of the globalised world and that her administration understands the pressures businesses have been encountering because of the prolonged economic depression they have been facing. So we can create jobs – some new types of jobs – as long as the companies register here and seek to expand some of their business activity beyond simply “offshoring”.
But this country will need significantly more changes to ensure this first step taken last week becomes a total success.
There must be first-class delivery of support services, particularly from key Government departments. It will mean that Barbados will have to welcome more non-nationals, especially those who are bringing expertise we do not have here.
The new tax measures must be outlined in layman’s language since many of the business people and even the people who should be guiding them may not have grasped the significance.
How the changes will impact small to medium-sized businesses which may find themselves disadvantaged having to now pay higher corporation taxes must also be outlined. (ES)