Business

Barbados facing challenges to its international business sector

Friday, October 20, 2017

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Barbados International Business Minister Donville Inniss says the country is facing myriad challenges, almost daily, as it seeks to develop its international business sector.

Addressing the opening of International Business Week here recently, Inniss said that he remains optimistic that the sector would overcome these challenges, particularly from interests within the international community.

Inniss said Barbados is being blacklisted by other countries and entities and this is hampering investments.

“The challenge we have is to continue to get out there and defend this domicile and its reputation as a country that is not involved in illicit activities, one that is not a tax haven and one that is really and truly seeking to encourage, foster and develop businesses of substance,” he added.

Caribbean Community governments have consistently condemned actions by European countries to list regional countries as tax havens, saying it was being done “on the pretext that there is no cooperation on tax law enforcement with the countries of the European Union”.

Inniss further revealed that the financial sector contributed over BDS$900 million (BDS$1 = US$0.50 cents) annually to the economy, noting that information technology ranked second to the contributions made by the tourism industry.

“… I often argue with my dear friend and colleague Richard Sealy that the country gets a better return on its investment in international business and financial services than we do in tourism. I suspect that for every dollar that the Government spends in the sector, they probably get a lot more than $2 back. And certainly, for every dollar we earn in foreign exchange, I suspect perhaps that 75 cents stay in Barbados,” Inniss said.

“This is not to suggest that there is any war between tourism and international business — we need both of them. But no one can discount the immense contribution that this sector makes to the economy of Barbados,” he argued.

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