Acknowledging that wading through reams of red tape is bad for business, the Cayman Islands government announced plans to reduce paperwork and administrative work for business operating in the territory.
“One of the most common complaints raised by businesses and citizens throughout the Cayman Islands is the amount and complexities of governmental formalities and paperwork and the time it takes to get things done,” Minister for Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture Mark Scotland told reporters Thursday. “We want to help our citizens and, in particular, small businesses to make doing business here in the Cayman Islands a lot easier.”
Following the example of a United Kingdom government initiative called “Digital by Default”, government departments in the Cayman Islands that have the biggest impact on businesses aim to provide more online services, Mr. Scotland said.
Those departments would include immigration, planning, the Trade and Business Licensing Board and the General Registry.
“Businesses and citizens spend too much time and devote significant resources to activities such as filling out forms, applying for permits and licences, reporting business information, notifying of changes, etc,” the minister said. “In many cases, practices have become extremely complex or irrelevant and cumbersome, generating unnecessary regulatory and administrative burdens.
“The costs imposed on the economy as a whole are very significant,” Mr. Scotland added. He said that overly complex administration impedes innovation and creates unnecessary barriers to trade and investment, citing a study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business that showed that red tape in Canada cost the business sector $30.5 billion, or just under 2 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.
The minister said the use of information technology in the private sector – for example, the online sales company Amazon – was putting pressure on governments to cut red tape. “IT is one of the most important physical tools enabling governments to reduce the amount of paper shuffling involved in dealing with the public in business, it also provides strong dynamics and pressure to reduce administrative burdens,” Mr. Scotland said.
Much of the remit for making the government more online savvy in its approach to the public will fall to incoming Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, who is in charge of the Computer Services Department, and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, who is the head of the civil service.
The Department of Commerce and Investment and the Chamber of Commerce would also be involved in the efforts, Mr. Scotland said.