ST. LUCIA-BUSINESS-Government urged to support local investors

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CASTRIES, St Luci Nov. 6, CMC —Calls for local Investors to be treated more seriously and provided with a “Local Investor Window” were some of the sentiments emerging from a forum on the weekend with Investment Minister Bradly Felix.
The Chamber of Commerce conceived Open Forum on Investment, brought the Minister with responsibility for Investment and his Technical Team to have an intimate conversation with Chamber of Commerce members on a sensitive and important subject.
The President of the Chamber Martin Dorville in his opening statement called for Government to provide the requisite support to local investment to compliment Foreign Direct Investment.
He pointed out that the local business community is not against the provision of incentives to Investors, but the Chamber believed that all incentives and concessions be “performance based” and not open ended.
According to one contributor, a small investor has a wait of 15 months for an approval – that is promoted as taking three months.
Other firms noted that they had never been the recipient of incentives, yet they remained in business and continue to invest heavily in St. Lucia, while a plethora of foreign investors have entered the market over the years and have been recipients of incentives and concessions.
Recommendations were also made on ways existing businesses could be incentivized and supported.
Several other issues were also raised during the forum , prompting the Chamber and the Ministry agreed to continue their dialogue in pursuit of “Making St. Lucia the place of choice to do business.”

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