Financial services were at the top of the government’s agenda at the beginning of the year with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Peter Turnnquest saying that the government is developing a new framework aimed at strengthening industry regulations and protecting revenues to the Public Treasury.
“By demonstrating our commitment to global standards, we are working to maintain The Bahamas’ competitive edge as a global leader in the financial services industry and ensure that the country’s second economic pillar remains vibrant over the medium and long term,” he said.
Under the framework, all financial institutions will now be permitted to offer services to both domestic and international clients, provided that the financial institution meets the prescribed regulatory requirements in respect of the services offered.
The new framework proposes that financial institutions, including banks, insurance, trust companies, investment advisers, mutual fund administrators, broker/dealers and other regulated financial services entities, will be exempted from paying a Business License fee when renewing or applying for a license, starting January 2020.
Later in the month, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis travelled to Brussels, Belgium, to hold bilateral talks with high-ranking officials of the European Commission.
Discussions focused on matters relating to the financial services sector of The Bahamas fulfilling its commitments to the EU in terms of compliance and best practice.
“The government is working diligently and in cooperation with industry stakeholders to do everything possible, in keeping with our national interests, to protect the financial services sector, while adhering to global standards,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
In his address to the nation towards the end of the month, the Prime Minister concentrated more on foreign investment projects and the government’s efforts to support smaller Bahamian businesses.
“The government has committed to invest $25 million toward small business support over five years,” he said. “Once these small businesses are provided with capital, they can contribute to the fabric of the economy by providing new businesses by Bahamian entrepreneurs and jobs for Bahamians.”
In other news, another global tech company joined the sector on Grand Bahama, with US software and web development company DevDigital announcing that it has launched operations in The Bahamas, and will be headquartered in Freeport.
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