Minister tweaks business licensing regime

| 19/03/2018 | 23 Comments
Cayman News Service

Minister Joey Hew in LA, 14 March 2018

(CNS): Commerce Minister Joey Hew has said that changes to the trade and business licensing regime under a new amendment bill will help cut red tape and encourage more local people to become entrepreneurs. The amendments to the law were steered through the Legislative Assembly last week with broad support, though Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller raised concerns that government is not monitoring the need for the licences it grants, which leads to excessive numbers of small businesses competing in some sectors, undermining their ability to make a living.

Presenting the bill to parliament, Hew said the goal was to address some of the concerns from the business community, remove unnecessary document requirements, simplify procedures, allow departments to share information and exempt locals from needing police clearance except under certain circumstances.

He said it that new applicants will not need to demonstrate compliance with health insurance, pension and labour laws, but businesses renewing licences must be compliant with those requirements before their licence can be renewed.

Hew said the changes were “intended to create a more business-friendly environment” to further encourage entrepreneurs, improve the odds of success for small business. and help rather than hinder growth. The minister said the government recognised that small businesses are drivers of economic growth and job creation.

He pointed that the original overhaul of the legislation during the last administration, policy changes and fee reduction for small and micro business had resulted in tangible benefits, with thousands of Caymanians starting new small businesses and wider renewed business confidence. Hew said small businesses were thriving and were the life blood of the domestic economy and vital to prosperity. 

He also announced plans to create a small business centre, which would be a one-stop shop to boost the level of support for small traders offering small professional business counselling, training and access to funding. Hew also revealed that his ministry was reviving the National Investment Bureau.

Before the bill was passed the opposition leader raised concerns over the failure to monitor the number of licences being given to the same type of businesses over and over, reducing the ability of any of them to make a living. Miller said that the theory of increasing the population to feed existing businesses was flawed, and pointed to the growth in larger conglomerates that are controlling some business sectors, pushing small firms out of business as a result of the continued absence of any kind of fair trade regime.

See the amendment bill here  and see the debate in the LA on the law on CIGTV below at 50:18:

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Category: Business

Comments (23)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I applaud Government’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship by streamlining and simplifying the TBL process. I do hope more people in Cayman consider setting up their own businesses. I would also like to Government to make similar proposals for CIMA licensing so that more people in Cayman can set up their own regulated services providers. As we know, those fees and requirements are must higher than TBL and giving people the opportunity to set themselves up in one of the regulated fields has the potential to create more locally owned businesses, jobs and opportunities for economic stimulation.

  2. William says:

    “Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller raised concerns that government is not monitoring the need for the licences it grants, which leads to excessive numbers of small business competing in some sectors, undermining their ability to make a living”.

    If so, then he is against competition and for restrictive practices to pump prices up, plus a “Board” gets to sit in judgement over who can have a licence and who can’t ! Back to the good ol’ Caymanian “who you know” routine that has protected the rich and screwed the less well connected in Cayman for decades.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Illogical commentary from Ezzard as usual. You cannot restrict a Caymanian from starting a business and you can definitely not have some board decide which Caymanian gets the licence and which one does not.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, Ezzard wants monopolies and cartels that he and his cronies can control…like most things here are…supermarkets, gas stations, taxis, electricity…nice cozy little numbers and no need for competition. Can’t believe he actually said that…so obvious…

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  3. Anonymous says:

    How about starting by dismantling the builders board. Why are those making the decisions on the board people in the same field as the ones they are making the decisions on. Why is it that Contractors have to get approval from multiple agencies it is absolutely ridiculous and the red tape is getting so thick. It doesn’t matter if you have a trade and business license if you can’t work in the field because the board doesn’t want any more competition.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    This government equates: pension and health plans, and compliance with the labour laws as “unnecessary”. These minimum legal employee safeguards are seen as an impediment to local business owners screwing over their employees for a living. Profiting off the backs of others has been the business culture of the Cayman Islands for half a millennium. Nothing has changed with whoever is pulling Joey’s strings.

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  5. Capitalism calling says:

    Sounds good, but hopefully the government sector will put in place some rules about % of time it’s iwn staff can spend on their own business whilst on government payroll and time and the conflicts of interest policy will be crystal clear about conflicts of interest.

    But while they at it, why not look at changing the work permit rules for teenagers living and attending school here – let them learn some work ethics and be allowed to get weekend or summer jobs. Currently those that have growing up here but are dependents of work permit holders are not allowed to work in any capacity. Such a shame and an opportunity to integrate the youth earlier.

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    • Mokes-for-all says:

      Part-time work, or part-time business, ie where less than a certain number of hours per week are spent on a business activity, should not require a business licence, in my opinion. Nor should it require health and pension contributions. Not sure of this is the case, but I am finding it very difficult to get clear information one way or the other.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Better to prevent renewal of business licence if house not in order as currently there are lots of businesses that are delinquent in pensions and health insurance but they just carry on with nobody challenging them. Those are the ones people should really worry about.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    So Ezzard thinks the government should decide which people can have a business? Please vote this guy out NS.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Go there Joey

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Have you lost your goddamn mind? No requirement for health insurance, pensions and labor laws, just means disaster. Future employees beware. You are going to get screwed over.

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    • Anonymous says:

      More bull$hit from Joey the commerce genius that is geared towards votes for 2021. Yet he cannot or will not tackle the free trade bazaar called the Public Beach vendor fiasco on his watch. Any wonder why?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Because Mac won’t let him! Those are Macs people remember

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        • Anonymous says:

          Wrong too easy to blame Mac.
          PPM did nothing over the previous 4 years to deal with it. The ppm have the numbers and votes to deal with mess at the public beach but they lack the will so some businesses have rules and some don’t which makes a mockery of the system for a few votes. Hew is the minister and must own this problem or fix it instead of spouting nonsense.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Beach vendors gotta go! Sacrificing the nation’s treasure for the benefit of literally a few. Only politicians can see the logic in this.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It is a requirement for renewal.

      How can a new business, whose first step is to apply for a trade and business license, that has no employees, get a certificate of compliance that the employees it does not yet employ have health insurance and a pension plan?

      And they were being asked…

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      • Anonymous says:

        This is what happens when you leave administration these applications to civil servants who have no clue about business at all. The problem with the amendments to the law during the previous administration is that it was driven by civil servants and therefore created all sorts of idiotic requirements like this.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    More bullshit.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm didn’t the same PPM put all those nuisance requirements in place under Min. Panton ?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    How cute. Ezzard thinks that capitalism means that only a few should prosper and not the best. Guess that makes sense to those that voted for him in North Side.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard’s job is to just thumbs down anything the reigning government does to improve small Caymanian business ownership. Ezzard bad… Bad Ezzard!

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