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FS Minister bullish on plans for economy

The government is "aggressively" pursuing ways to boost the economy, according to the Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette. The Minister made the remark while addressing stakeholders during the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants Accountants Week opening ceremony this week. Pictured: Minister Symonette addresses stakeholders during the BICA Accountants Week. (BIS Photos/Kristaan Ingraham)

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Thursday, November 16, 2017

The government is “aggressively” pursuing ways to boost the economy, according to the Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette.

The Minister made the remark while speaking to stakeholders during the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) Accountants Week opening ceremony.


The event was held at Melia Nassau Beach, November 14, 2017.

“Our plan is to reinforce the principles of strong leadership, based on ethical governance, that is transparent and accountable, and which applies firm and prudent fiscal responsibility and management,” said Minister Symonette. “These elements are vital to the financial stability and future growth of the Bahamian economy.”

He said that the country’s fiscal deficit is estimated to be 5.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the fiscal year ending June 2017, up from 3.5 per cent of GDP in FY2016, due to sharp increases in the wage bill, post-hurricane cleanup and reconstruction spending, temporary tax reliefs, and disruptions in revenue collection.

The central government debt-to-GDP ratio, he explained, is estimated to have increased to 73 per cent of GDP in FY2017.

“In order for The Bahamas economy to compete and prosper in [the] global environment, we must create conditions that facilitate the ease of doing business in an open, innovative, productive and competitive environment.”

“The government has embraced this idea, with the understanding that we must be forward thinking if we are to advance ourselves as a nation, and continue to compete in the global economy.”

“For its part, the government is committed to creating favourable conditions by building an efficient public sector and investing in public infrastructure to sustain, support and spur economic growth,” he said. “Currently in progress is the drafting and tabling of legislation to streamline procedures and improve the ease of doing business.”

As well as, the enhancement and reconfiguration of government agencies to facilitate ease of process and sharing of information between agencies (companies registrar, business license unit, NIB, BIA, regulatory agencies), the Minister said that the government has already begun to implement changes to immigration processes. These include those for tax residency, work permit relaxation for certain classes of persons, economic permanent residency and threshold for purchase of a residence to $750,000.

Government is to set up a Deliverables Unit early next year to monitor and guide public finance projects. Watch a ZNS Network news report here.

Speaking to the House of Assembly November 15, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest gave details the government’s recent US$750 million bond issuance, which is expected to close November 21, 2017.

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