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New senator makes first mark - Clarke calls for business law similar to charities bill

Published:Friday | November 29, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Newly sworn in Opposition senators Ruel Reid (left) and Nigel Clarke participate in yesterday's sitting of the Senate. - Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer
Opposition Leader Andrew Holness (left) was a guest of the Senate yesterday, along with Opposition members of parliament Olivia Grange and Karl Samuda, for the swearing in of new senators Clarke and Reid.

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

NEWLY MINTED Opposition Senator Dr Nigel Clarke used his maiden presentation in the legislature to urge the Government to move with alacrity in promulgating legislation that will make it easier to do business.

Contributing to a debate on the charities bill yesterday, which he said was a most welcomed piece of legislation, Clarke said a similar piece of legislation in relation to the business sector could be a catalyst for change.

"It is this kind of streamlining and one-stop-shop approach that I know members of the business community would welcome," Clarke said.

He argued that with such an approach, one, with a single application, could get "a number of things done".

Said Clarke: "If it can be done in the voluntary sector, which is of vital importance, I see no reason why we can't improve the business climate in the country in a way that would boost production, boost output and improve the lives of Jamaicans."

Justice Minister Mark Golding, who piloted the charities bill, stated that the Government was taking the approach being suggested by Clarke, adding that the state would soon institute a superform to make it easier to do business.

Under the four-year Extended Fund Facility with the International Monetary Fund, Jamaica has committed to taking several steps to enhance the business environment.

Multi-purpose superform

A clear commitment is to streamline the business registration process through the use of a multi-purpose business registration superform and associated IT platform by December 2013.

Jamaica continues to slide in the World Bank's annual Doing Business rankings, falling three more places to 94 in the new report released in October.

Clarke, chief executive officer and chief operating officer of the Facey Group and the Musson Group as well as Ruel Reid, the principal of Jamaica College, yesterday took the oath of appointment as Opposition senators.

The charities bill, which has already been passed in the House of Representatives, is a single piece of legislation that provides for the regulation of charitable organisations. It eliminates the need for registered charities to apply for waivers under the Customs, General Consumption Tax, Income Tax, Property Tax, Stamp Duty and Transfer Tax acts.