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Government to aid SME development

Government policy must be "pro-growth" as small and medium-sized enterprises struggle to compete in a difficult financial climate, according to Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Government policy must be “pro-growth” as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggle to compete in a difficult financial climate, said Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis last week, as he pledged to remove barriers to doing business in The Bahamas and stabilise the economy.

“We find ourselves at a very, very important crossroads in our development. There are fundamental changes going on internationally and in The Bahamas,” he said referring to the economic slowdown caused by the recent global recession.


Addressing a Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants seminar at the Melia on Cable Beach, the Minister said that small island economies such as The Bahamas were particularly vulnerable and noted that the domestic economy’s growth rate has slowed in recent years.

He said the government expects to see 1.7 per cent growth in the economy this year, rising to 2.1 per cent in 2015.

In this difficult financial climate, SMEs are at a disadvantage and the government must be prepared to support them, said Halkitis.

“The real key to the success of SMEs is making sure that government policy provides, stimulates and supports a stable and growing economic environment,” continued the Minister, who hinted that new developments in the coming year would increase ease of doing business by removing bureaucratic delays.

“You will see in the new year, some innovations in terms of business licenses in an effort to make it easier to navigate that part of the bureaucracy,” he added.

Around 90 per cent of all businesses registered in The Bahamas are SMEs. The government is currently drafting the Bahamas Small and Medium Sized Development Act, which is expected to go before Parliament in the first quarter of 2015.

The Act will create a Small & Medium Sized Enterprise Development Agency to oversee its implementation and represent the views of both government and the private sector.

cmorris@dupuch.com

According to the latest pipeline report from STR (via Caribbean Journal), The Bahamas leads the Caribbean with 2,681 rooms in construction, with the vast majority coming from the Baha Mar resort project.

Prime Minister Perry Christie launched the Inter-American Development Bank funded National Development Plan this week. Watch a ZNS Network news report here.

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