Antigua and Barbuda’s “ease of doing business index” is forecasted to see a significant improvement with a major development currently being instituted by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC).
The FSRC has announced a changeover from paper applications to electronic submissions and payments which is already resulting in a significant reduction in the turn-around time from the commencement of the application to the start-up of the business.
The changeover is a part of the government’s digitisation of records in some of its departments, an initiative which began in 2016.
On Wednesday, the head of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) and four of his highly qualified officers were a part of Cabinet where they happily made the presentation to Cabinet officials.
Information Minister Melford Nicholas despite the commission’s official launch date of Friday 14 July 2017, digitization of its records is currently underway.
Nicholas, while admitting that the level of efficiency and speed of response will see a noticeable improvement, added that it will not be felt immediately.
“When that time happens next month, I believe that their response time for applicants, whether or not their doing an unlicensed IBC or even a licensed IBC, they will be able to improve the level of efficiency and the speed of response and I believe the index dealing with ease of doing business over a period of time. there is a process of adaptation that some times can be as lengthy as six months or even longer so the impact of the change may not be felt by the next survey period but over a period of time we know that we’re intending to improve the overall serve in Antigua and Barbuda,” he said.
When all the data required to conduct name searches have been completed, and the payment system utilizing electronic methods would have been perfected, then the FRSC is expected to launch its electronic submission.
According to Cabinet, Antigua and Barbuda is aiming to become as efficient as the best performing Caribbean country, and to do even better as it relates to the country’s “ease of doing business”, which is a measurement device utilized by the World Bank to rank countries.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) has published a preliminary report; it gives high marks to Antigua and Barbuda for the clear political support by the Prime Minister and the Attorney General for putting in place the legislative framework required to demonstrate compliance. A FINAL REPORT is due on 28 July 2017.