The final in the first instalment of the three part series “Getting Down to Business” concluded 9th August 2017 at the Chamber Secretariat.
Taking an intense look at the Import License Regime with key stakeholders including the Department of Commerce, the Customs and Excise Department and Chamber Members.
A number of thought provoking issues were raised mainly related to the License application process, matters related to the speed of the process, the communication gaps, feedback and opportunities for the introduction of technology were all discussed.
The Department of Commerce took some time to painstakingly point out the rational for the License and the procedure which importers should follow when applying for a license.
This revealed a need for more information on the rules, regulations, and procedures underpinning the regime to be understood and known by the Business Community.
The Meeting agreed that there was an urgent need for the List of Items requiring licenses to be reviewed, more up to date policies put in place, while a more efficient system to administer the Regime including increasing the staff compliment needed to be seriously considered.
In concluding the meeting which participants agreed was an important and critical step in effecting positive change, it was recommended that a Sub-Committee be established to conduct a review and make recommendations on improving the system.
The Sub-Committee should include other critical stakeholders such as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Bureau of Standards.
The Ministry agreed to continue to engage the business community and welcomed not just the meeting but the tone, conduct and outcomes of the meeting and pledged to join its partners in finding ways to improve its service delivery and grow the St. Lucia economy.
A follow-up meeting shall take place in the next two months to review progress and to find approaches which will help achieve the desired objectives.