Friday, February 2, 2018
Friday, February 2, 2018
A major theme of the government’s newly-designed investment promotion strategy for the country is that The Bahamas is “an archipelago of possibilities”, Prime Minister, Dr Hubert Minnis told the country’s key business leaders Thursday.
Addressing the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation’s Power Breakfast February 1 at Baha Mar, Prime Minister Minis said the new theme is designed to promote the diversification of investment possibilities in The Bahamas – ranging from tourism, to financial services, to technology, aquaculture, to renewable energy, nanotechnology and other emerging industries.
“Our aim is to promote a new Bahamas, open to investment, with joint partnerships with Bahamians and streamlined processes for investors, including potential investors from the diaspora,” Prime Minister Minnis said.
“I am optimistic and confident that greater prosperity is on the way for our Bahamas. Let us work together to make this a dynamic year of growth, investment and opportunity.”
Prime Minister Minnis said there is growing confidence in The Bahamas despite the long road and challenges ahead.
“There are positive prospects on the horizon. Recovery has begun.”
Prime Minister Minnis told the business leaders that his administration’s emphasis is on a dynamic blend of domestic and foreign investment.
“We are determined in our vision to enhance economic opportunities for Bahamian businesses and entrepreneurs, including Bahamians in the Diaspora. We intend to diversify with tourism and across various sectors as suggested in the Commercial Enterprise Act.”
Prime Minister Minnis said it is his intention to undertake several investment promotion trips abroad to include Canada, the US, Europe, East Asia and South America in order to boost investment opportunities in The Bahamas and growth in the Bahamian economy.
“These travels are designed to attract high-quality investments to our country. We look forward to the participation of the private sector in this initiative,” the Prime Minister added.
Prime Minister Minnis said recognizing that economic growth requires improving the ease of doing business, the administration appointed a committee to make recommendations to improve the ease of doing business in The Bahamas, soon after coming to office on May 10, 2017.
The Committee has since completed its assigned task and has made a number of recommendations to the government, using ten categories established by the World Bank.
“These categories and the rankings for The Bahamas can be reviewed at the World Bank’s website,” the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister said there are a number of issues involved in enhancing the ease of doing business in The Bahamas and to move the economy to a more productive and dynamic one.
These include streamlining the Business License process and improving the application process for various licenses and permits, including at the paper confirmation and certification levels, which Dr. Minnis says “consumes a significant amount of time and are often an inefficient burden for applicants as well as the government agencies that must sort through the volumes of documents created.”
“This process is antiquated,” Prime Minister Minnis said.
Prime Minister Minnis said the calculation of Business License Fees and the process of preparing value added tax (VAT) returns, also need to be addressed.
“To streamline the business license process, the Department of Inland Revenue is launching an initiative to make the business license approval process faster and easier by creating a single point for submission of all applications related to the opening of a business,” Prime Minister Minnis said.
“This will eliminate the need for visits to multiple agencies and will provide a source of information where all the requirements for opening a business are clearly outlined,” he added.
The Department of Inland Revenue is currently conducting a Pilot Programme. The new process is expected to be “rolled out” in the coming weeks.