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Import duty reduction not enough

| 01/08/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS Business):  A 2% reduction in import duties, which was part of the government Strategic Policy Statement and Budget Address, will take effect from 1 August 2014 but the Chamber of Commerce is concerned that these reductions will not go far enough to help small businesses in the Cayman Islands and is urging government to do more. Chamber President Johann Moxam told CNS Business that government must make good on its campaign promises to help small and medium sized business, which have seen a dramatic rise in fees over the last ten years.

“We have to acknowledge the efforts made by the government to lower the duty tariffs from 22% to 20%. I think I’s a step in the right direction, however the concern is whether that 2% reduction really goes far enough to help businesses,” Moxam said. “At this point we feel that the government should be doing more, and could do more to help businesses survive in a very trying economic climate.”

For over a decade the cost of doing business has increased and businesses have had to absorb these costs, he said, noting that in some cases these increases have been over 100% over that ten year span.

“It’s important that government keep its word and the many campaign promises that were made about trying to help medium to small businesses, and especially those businesses that are defined as micro-small businesses by the Department of Investment and Commerce,” Moxam said.

The Chamber will always advocate in the best interest of its members, he said, and they feel that the government could have done more to assist business. He said they provided a list of recommendations in February 2014 on what they felt were fair and realistic proposals to help small businesses, including a 7.5% reduction in duty import across the board, a reduction in the trade and business licences, as well as 25% off work permit fees and reduced work permit fees for part time staff.

He said these were all realistic and tangible proposals that would have gone a long way towards helping the business community.

Chamber proposals include:

  • 30% reduction in trade and business licensing fees;
  • 7.5% off the current import duty tax;
  • 25% concession on custom duties for new small business start-ups;
  • 30% concession on customs duties for small businesses that introduce alternative energy solutions;
  • 25% reduction in all work permit fees and a 50% discount on permit fees for part time staff (20 hours per week);
  • 25% reduction in work permit fees for managerial level positions.

Read more on the Chamber of Commerce website


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Category: Local Business, Small Business, Video

Comments (4)

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  1. Bleeding Teeth says:

    I really hope the Government does not fall into the trap of allowing the Chamber of Greed (oops, Commerce), to dictate things. Did the Chamber say it has encouraged its merchant members to reduce prices to the public, if this wish-list was granted? Government, you really want to know what should be done in this country, take a massive survey of the peoples’ needs and I’m sure you’ll get a different picture from the greed culture view espoused by a “lily white” entity that knows best for the Country.

  2. Jonas says:

    I disagree with the proposed fee reductions on work permits and believe that the reductions if any should be based on a Business showing and proving that they have trained and hired Caymanians and have promoted Caymanians into Managerial positions. Where there is a need for a permit, it must be shown that there is a real need and not the usual bogus process of stating requirements that are not necessary for the job advertised. This is the only way we can adjust the biased and unfair hiring practices that exist in the financial sector and others.

    • Anonymous says:

      If by “biased” you mean that firms have a fighting chance of getting someone that can actually do the job, you’re spot on.

      What you and many others need to realize is that in order to get a work permit companies have to prove there is no Caymanian that can do the job. And if you think immigration is a toothless watchdog in that regard, you have never run a business in Cayman. Getting a permit is a nightmare or bureaucracy, uncertainty, delay, and is fiendishly expensive to boot.

      There is simply no sane reason for an employer to hire an expat if a remotely suitable Caymanian presents themselves.

      • Jonas says:

        I laud your perspective, and must say that all that glitters is not gold as you may think. Many employers have made up their minds to use every tool possible to avoid hiring Caymanians. I have Caymanian friends who are seasoned professionals and have been interviewed by several companies and never received a response to inquiries as to whether the job had been granted. This lack of respect coupled with the cocky attitude of many and smug smiles when they see you weeks after on the street, will one day if the tide is not turned, cause uncontrollable scenarios.

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