Barbados’ international business and financial services sector came into focus during the recently concluded 2013 Budget Speech, which was delivered by the Honourable Christopher Sinckler, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, last week.
In a budget that outlined plans for the nation’s growth and development, as well as for fiscal adjustment, a number of modifications and enhancements were highlighted for the international business sector, one of the major earners of foreign exchange revenue for Barbados.
Among the changes designed to improve Barbados’ competitiveness, was the announcement that regulations to accompany the International Corporate and Trust Provider Act will be laid in Parliament in October 2013.
Effective September 1, 2013, high net worth individuals who own more than US$2 million in property and investments in Barbados, which have been purchased with funds sourced outside the island, will be eligible for a Special Entry Permit. Similarly, foreigners who possess special skills required on the island will also be eligible for this permit. Spouses and dependents of these individuals will be issued with a permit on payment of the relevant fees.
In order to further enhance the smooth and efficient operations and processes relating to international business facilitation, a National Business Facilitation Unit will be established. This Unit will be headed by a Commissioner and comprise staff from the Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development.
Another welcomed initiative will be the issuance of multi-year licences by the International Business Unit to international business companies for a maximum of three years, effective January 1, 2014. Currently, licenses are issued annually and this measure is anticipated to improve the efficiency of the licensing process.
The Minister of Finance also revealed that the Inland Revenue Department will contract a local company and tax law expert to handle international business issues relating to tax law and provide advice to the department. The Minister also revealed that the Barbados International Business Association will collaborate with government on this initiative.
Additionally, the marketing and promotion budget of Invest Barbados will be boosted by an additional $7 million from budget year 2014. These additional funds will be utilised towards attracting greater foreign direct investment to the shores of Barbados.