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Cayman Seeks To Slash Red Tape

by Amanda Banks,, London

06 February 2013

The Cayman Islands' new Premier, Julianna O'Connor-Connolly, has reinforced the government's commitment to reducing bureaucracy by modernizing the government's operations and reviewing existing processes, to make the business environment more inviting.

Speaking at the government's weekly press briefing, the Premier said: "One of the most common complaints raised by businesses and citizens in the Cayman Islands is the amount and complexity of government formalities and paperwork and the time it takes get things done. We as the government want to help citizens and particularly small business to make doing business in the Cayman Islands easier."

She admitted that presently businesses and citizens spend too much time and devote significant resources to activities such as filling out forms, applying for permits and licenses, reporting business information and notifying the government of changes. "In many cases, processes have become extremely complex, or irrelevant and cumbersome, generating unnecessary regulatory and administrative burdens. The costs imposed on the economy as a whole can be significant," she said.

A recent study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business quantified that cost at KYD30.5m (USD37.2m) per year, equivalent to around 2% of the islands' gross domestic product.

Exploring potential solutions, O'Connor-Connolly pointed to a new initiative launched in the UK called "Digital by Default," which requires all government departments to explore ways of using the internet to provide more efficient services to taxpayers and to cut red tape.

O'Connor-Connolly continued: "I have discussed this with the Deputy Governor and he assures me that the improved use of information technology is on his Civil Service Reform agenda and it will be a high priority for the new Cabinet Secretary, Sam Rose, who has responsibility for computer services and who takes up his position next month. He will be tasked with taking this agenda forward. It is appropriate that we focus on those areas of government that have the biggest impact on business, namely immigration, general registry, trade and business licensing and planning."

"There are a number of agencies that are currently looking at these issues: the Department of Commerce and Industry, the Chamber of Commerce and the Deputy Governor's Office. We now want to see some positive results that lighten the administrative burden on business. This will be best achieved through a coordinated effort."

The local business community, represented by the Cayman Islands' Chamber of Commerce, has confirmed that it will establish a body to engage with the government on the development of these initiatives.

TAGS: tax | small business | business | law | international financial centres (IFC) | Cayman Islands | offshore

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