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May 2, 2017

Businessmen to Get Help with Duties

Dean Barrow

There were some sweets offered to the businessmen by Prime Minister Barrow in his address, which he couched as offering a listening ear and helping hand to the business community. Foremost among the plans is what P.M. Barrow calls a targeted tax cut for producers paying import duties on packaging and labelling materials. The Economic Development Council will now be part of the legislative establishment, bringing businessmen into closer contact with Government, and there will be efforts made to address other key problems.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The determination to do better is why we will next month be moving legislation in the National Assembly to enshrine the Economic Development Council (EDC). This will make permanent the paradigm of the private sector as an equal consort with Government in the advancement of commerce and industry. To do better is also why Government will, again in May, begin the process of relieving the productive sector of as much as six point three million dollars in import duties on packaging and labelling materials. Because we need to get CARICOM waivers for some of these reductions, we will start only with the items that do not require those exemptions. But in the end, manufacturers and producers of natural juices, various beverages, honey, edible oils, pepper, jam, sauces, wines, condiments, crafts, milk products will all benefit handsomely from what is in effect a targeted tax cut. Indeed, a recent survey showing that this key input is twenty-seven percent of total product cost underlines the magnitude of the step we are taking. To do better, Cabinet has as well endorsed a legislative redesign of both the Trade License System and the Building Act. The former, a consequence of extensive EDC collaboration, will bring greater transparency, predictability and proficiency to the trade licensing process. And the latter should further stimulate the construction sector, a flourishing segment of the economy constituting over four percent of annual output, which four percent is a proportion up by sixty percent since 2010.”

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