Tax breaks for employers at centre of job creation drive
Creating an economic environment in which entrepreneurs can thrive and job creation blossoms is key to driving the economy forward, according to Government.
And yesterday Finance Minister Bob Richards unveiled a number of measures including tax breaks and the slashing of red tape which he believes will enable Bermudians to get back to work.
Running through a catalogue of failing industries, from a depressed retail sector to a tourism industry forced to downsize, Mr Richards said: “The human toll that these trends have inflicted is unprecedented.
“Although up-to-date accurate statistics are not available, we know that thousands of Bermudians are unemployed and that more are under-employed, earning less than before.”
Stressing that it was not Government’s responsibility to provide employment, Mr Richards said Government will improve the Island’s entrepreneurial environment “so that job creators can do what they do best”.
“As a Government, the choice is simple we either employ everybody who wants to work but doesn’t have a job, or we make it easier, cheaper and more attractive for businesses based in Bermuda to employ more people,” he said.
“The first option would bankrupt the Government, the second option leads to a more sustainable path. We choose the sustainable option.”
Pointing out that “ultimately, all jobs in Bermuda are derived from primary foreign exchange earning businesses”, Mr Richards said the Island had become “an uncompetitive player” in the global market and it was now essential to improve the quality of service and speed of delivery to lure overseas business back to the Island.
But he denied that Government was cosying up to big business while ignoring the plight of struggling Bermudians.
“I cannot repeat this enough it takes an employer to create a job, they don’t just fall from the sky,” Mr Richards said.
He described the recently-dropped term limit policy as “a job-killer” that had driven out foreign intellectual capital and put Bermudians out of work.
And he said cutting bureaucracy which had “reduced the flow of inward direct investment to virtually a trickle” would also give Bermuda a competitive edge in the global market.
He announced the creation of two bodies the Economic Development Committee and the Bermuda Business Development Corporation which will “compress the time taken to obtain the necessary approvals for direct investment” and “spearhead the promotion of Bermuda as a preferred domicile for a variety of international business activities”.
Mr Richards said the measures would also encourage foreign hotel development “which will provide new construction jobs and ultimately new jobs in hospitality”.
And he said local entrepreneurs would continue to be supported by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.
“This Government has embarked on these initiatives and will take any other necessary steps to stimulate economic growth through these non-tax policy driven initiatives,” Mr Richards said.
Government believes that two new tax initiatives will also help job creation a payroll tax “holiday” for employers who hire Bermudians, and a reduction in licence fees for non-Bermudians who purchase property on the Island. Currently, the fee is calculated at 25 percent of the value of the property being purchased, but Government will slash that to just eight percent.