Duty increases ‘soon come’

| 02/12/2009

(CNS): Shoppers will only have a few weeks to make the most of the current customs duty rate before it is increases by a further 2% on most items — a 10% hike in real terms. With the country’s politicians set to return to the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday morning to deal with the legislation required to meet the fee increases set out in the 2009/10 budget, it appears most of the changes will take effect in January 2010. Along with the increase on import duty, members will also debate the bill to introduce a fee on money transfers, as well as a number of other new bills to raise fees on various business transactions.

The increases were set out in the government’s budget, which was passed in the House in October, and collectively they are expected to generate an extra $94 million over the revenue that the Cayman Islands government hopes to raise in this financial year.

One area that government has yet to tackle, but one that is expected to bring in a significant portion — more than 10% — of the $94 million, is an increase to work permit fees. These fees which are likely to hit local business hard are expected to go up by at least 50% and more in other cases, such as fees in the professional sector, which could double. So far, government has not revealed the new fees for specific job categories. It could be that government will not need to bring these fee changes to the LA and it could make the changes directly through Cabinet.

During the budget debate Premier McKeeva Bush said the increase to permit fees would be offset by allowing private businesses to opt out of the compulsory five percent pension contribution for their employees’ pensions, but details of this proposal have not yet been revealed.

Increases to bank and trust licences as well as insurance company licences have already been passed in the LA in recent weeks, along with fees on funds and security investment companies. Although government said it had consulted widely with local business before introducing the various fee increases, with the goal of balancing the budget, a number of organisations from the Society of Estate Practitioners as well as a number of larger private firms have voiced their concerns and objections as they have said the fee increases could driveaway business during an already difficult time for the offshore sector.

However, the CIG says that it was left with no choice; it was either raise fees and balance the budget that way or be forced by the UK to introduce direct taxation. Bush has also committed to undertake two reviews, one of the country’s revenue sources and public expenditures and one on the civil service. While the UK is demanding that Cayman find a more sustainable revenue source, preferably direct taxes, the premier has said he is committed to filling the government coffers through direct private investment and growing the country’s economy rather than through direct taxation.

“Let us get revenue from investment and not from taxes,” Bush has said on more than one occasion recently.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is no choice.

    We have to pay for MacDinejad’s world tour and for all his croonies to travel with him.

    What a fleecing for all Caymanians and residents!

  2. Anonymous says:

    As for direct taxation on peoples income , the Govt better not flirt with . that idea as we are now paying enough for pension and health Insurance. It will surely make life harder than it already is for the average Caymanian. There is no more middle class in Cayman but just RICH N POOR.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A huge opportunity to reduce, reform and re-structure the civil service has been lost forever because politicians have not got the courage to stand up to the civil service in case of a voter backlash.

    The civil service is like an anchor around the neck of cayman and be prepared for future increases in indirect taxes as  last years budget will be proven to be the sham that it is

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen. But it will have to change. The civil service is not sustainable in its present model. Please don’t expect James Watler to contribute anything to the discussion.

  4. Ex Pat says:

    OK, so the law says the employer, not the employee, must pay for the work permit.  But now the employee loses 5% of their pension so that the employer can recover some of the cost of a work permit? Good thinking (not) Batman!

  5. Anon says:

    Well said 23.36 I absolutely and whoelheartedly agree with you

  6. Anonymous says:

    I blame the PPM for this, or the UDP….wait I forget, who are we currently blaming?

  7. candice says:


    And as the duties increase, Fosters, Ritz, Treasure Island Co, CUC, Morritts, Hurleys, and all other companies out there, will have an excuse to increase their prices and raise their rates on the consumer. If government would have just reduce its size and privatize certain sectors like Cayman Airways, we wouldn’t have to deal with such a duty increase to maintain a “fat” government.
    And God forbid if we start taxing people.
  8. nonsense says:

    McKeeva Bush said the increase to permit fees would be offset by allowing private businesses to opt out of the compulsory five percent pension contribution for their employees’ pensions,


    So instead of me getting a pension, what was my money will go to pay for government waste. Plus I will get taxed, sorry duty, for the groceries I buy.

    I cannot afford it and will be leaving shortly — good luck!


  9. Bones says:

    Wasn’t there anelection promise about cutting the MLA’s salaries?

    Are election promises really that hollow?

    CNS: Here’s our online poll Should MLAs take a pay cut?

    • Anonymouse says:

      MLAs can not take a salary cut. How would they pay for the weekend domino sessions if they do.

    • Anonymous says:

      What do you think the fight to be a Politician is all about? Do you think that they love us that much or care about the Country? HELL NO……..With that kind of salary and all the perks, thats the answer. Just imagine being cheuffered driven and Security even going to Church with you, what a waste of our money that we will never be able to pay back as long as we live. Cayman the  safest part on this earth and having to have Security even in Church, thats rediciulous. Oh not to mention the Official car being used for funerals with families and the public in it. I WOULDNT BE SURPRISED IF VERY SOON THAT PROPERTY TAX IS NOT IMPLEMENTED . For the next three and half years we are going to need alot of money. Cayman need business men to run this Country.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Let’s cull some civil servants.  No, let’s cull a lot of them.  They are the reason we are in a mess and Mac is all talk but too much of a coward to stand up Watler.  Mac be a leader not a demagogue.

  11. spend more get less says:

    No Choice?  How about cutting goverment spending (waste)?  You mean the people of Cayman have no choice!  Talk about crime and criminals in Cayman. Most of the people who will pay have no say in the matter and already get too little for their money. This is stealing from the workers to pay for the incompetents.  Lets see how this works.