BVI News

Trade to be transformed | BVI ranks low in ease of doing business

Marlon Penn

The Department of Trade, Investment Promotions and Consumer Affairs is to be overhauled; partly to improve the territory’s ranking as it relates to the ease of doing business.

Junior Minister for Trade Marlon Penn said the British Virgin Islands is one of the lowest rated Caribbean countries as it relates to the ease of doing business.

Penn is the second legislator in months to bemoan the difficulties of conducting business in the territory. Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie made similar statements back in March and said public servants should be re-trained and government policies tweaked to encourage investment.

To improve the BVI’s low business rating, the trade department launched what is being called a Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) draft policy.

Penn said the draft policy is an on-going strategy that defines MSMEs in the BVI and paves the path for an ‘enabling environment’.

As part of the draft policy, issues relating to education and training, institutional and regulatory framework, operational environment for MSMEs, business development and support services, access to credit and finance, innovation, and internalisation of MSMEs, will be addressed.

“We started the process of investments, [and] we looked at establishing an investment framework for us to move forward,” Penn said. “We looked at the overall MSME’s and [the Ministry of] Trade and how Trade functioned, [it] has to be changed in the entire reform process.”

The Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises known as COSME, as well as the Caribbean Association of Investment and Promotion Agencies sponsored the draft policy.

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21 Comments

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  1. ndp heckler says:

    You will soon feel what it like spending 4 years in opposition.

    Like 8
    Dislike 3
  2. Howdy doody says:

    The TradeDept is doing better. However, Labour and immigration are still holding up business in the BVI.

    Like 14
    Dislike 2
    • BVI lawyer says:

      There are still far, far too many Government policies and procedures that act as a significant impediment on doing business and economic growth.

      In my office after Hurricane Irma we discovered that we had lost the keys to our office safe. Nobody on island could open the safe, but in St Thomas there was a professional who could do it.

      However we were told he could not come to the BVI – even for just a few hours – to open our safe unless we obtained a work permit for him first. As a result, it took us nearly 3 months to get into our safe.

      And why? He was clearly not taking anyone’s job. He was not moving to BVI permanently. We just have these crazy policies designed to make life just as difficult as it can possibly be for anyone trying to run a business here.

      Don’t even get me started on how we insist on work permits for people who travel to BVI to do voluntary, unpaid relief work.

      Like 30
    • and customs says:

      dont forget customs, ports, FSC, and banks!!

  3. Ok that's great but.... says:

    How about breaking that down in layman’s terms so that the everyone can understand what you are doing?

    • RealPol says:

      KISS (Keep it simple stupid).

    • Well says:

      Let me break it down for you…’just another load of hogwash’.

    • Albion says:

      The report deals with “issues relating to education and training, institutional and regulatory framework, operational environment for MSMEs, business development and support services, access to credit and finance, innovation, and internalisation of MSMEs, will be addressed.”

      So in other words, no change at all in relation to the issues which really affect us, like:
      – Work permit issues
      – Trade licence issues
      – Slow and unreliable internet
      – Lack of reliable power
      – Lack of reliable water
      – Poor banking infrastructure

      Why bother doing a report at all if you are not going to look at the real issues?

      Like 13
      • A man says:

        The BVI has successfully worked out how to achieve a hostile environment for immigrants.

        I use the term immigrant loosely, given that only a miniscule proportion of non-belongers who come to the BVI to live and work will ever achieve the success of becoming an immigrant (rather than lesser status of resident).

        Like 10
    • CW says:

      So much easier than being educated, am I right? SMH

  4. Jack says:

    Get rid of the trade boss is a start to fix the problem.

  5. BVIYoungman says:

    Well, im sending in for a trade license next week and I hope the process is easy and successful because ive heard terrible stories about establishing a business in the BVI!

    • Rubber Duck says:

      Don’t believe them. It’s much worse than they are telling you.
      My advice? Don’t bother. Go somewhere bigger and more business friendly like St Kitts or Antigua. You really do not want to have to deal with Labour and iImmigration never mind trade.

      Hint. To pay your employment taxes every two weeks ( yes we know the rest of the civilized world has monthly pay) you must travel into Road Town, go to the government office, stand in line and pay by cheque.

      Internet payments, bank transfer? Lol, this is the business friendly Backward Virgin Islands. So no.

  6. Maria Louisa Varlack says:

    That is exactly what I have been trying to drive home to you British Virgin Islanders. This is the reason why the territory is in such an awful state that it is in right now. Clean up your mess.

  7. Swat says:

    Typical ndp. A bunch of sophisticated hogwash with no meaning.

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  8. CW says:

    I’m a great example. I have had a tourism product I’ve been trying to bring to BVI for the last 10 years. That’s right- TEN YEARS. It generates $40,000 A WEEK for the local economy. I have started the process 3 times and each time some clown gets in the way and I have to start over. I just want to bring amateur photographerS down to take pictures in a gorgeous location. I have no impact on the locals getting jobs or not. I run a similar tourism product in 4 other locations around the US and Latin America- this is a successful proven concept. Only the BVI has locked us out. It’s ready to go and I could start it tomorrow. But I fear I never will because the red tape and stupidity of the government is not worth the expense. If I can’t do it in TEN YEARS I doubt it will happen at all. I am but one example of many. It must cost your economy millions. My business alone was supposed to he there 6x a year- 240k the local economy sent away. Once I had a guy actually tell me “it’s because you’re white”. SMH

  9. Rubber Duck says:

    Someone in government likes your idea. But not for you. For them or their cousin or the guy who pays for their holidays.

  10. Gerance P. says:

    Just look to the US as an example of what needs to happen here in the BVI. Even more so due to our frail infrastructure and impeded local investment. Cut the red tape and the choking government oversite at EVERY level of business. The start up of businesses should be embraced and boosted and cultured. I know there are several industries here but the tourism bit needs to be maximized. Every community needs to clean up their own space and then help your neighbor do the same. The govt should incentivize cleanup. Every turn you see old debris. And long before the hurricanes. It’s embarrasing. You shouldn’t have to go to a resort for the islands beauty to shine.

  11. SAS says:

    Get rid of the h— of Trade and then the problem will be fixed..— is the one have Trade in the mess its in.

  12. eastwood had a name says:

    heartbreak ridge, about grenada invasion in 83.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se9yGLm5RDs

    at 1:28

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