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Grand Bahama chamber chief highlights opportunities

The Bahamas is facing a "brave new world" with many challenges for economic growth, but opportunities still exist, according to Peter Turnquest, chamber president and chairman of SkyBahamas Airlines Ltd. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Speaking during the recent Accountants’ Week 2010, Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce president Peter Turnquest highlighted some of the key areas in which The Bahamas can nurture economic growth, and called for renewed vigour in achieving national goals.

“It’s a brave new world with many new challenges to face,” he said, addressing the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants’ event delegates. “For too long we have focused most of our efforts on foreign direct investment. This has served us well to date, but has also left us exposed and vulnerable.”

Although praising the economic impact of large projects such as Kerzner International’s mega-resort Atlantis, Turnquest, who is also the chairman of SkyBahamas Airlines Ltd, suggested that much of the real wealth is still leaving the country. He said that it was time for the nation’s executive to help empower the talented cadre of home-grown professionals in all sectors, from construction to accounting, to build their own businesses.

“Policy makers must create an environment that is favourable to the small business owner,” he continued. “They must tailor programmes to help entrepreneurs and develop financial tools that allow them to compete with larger businesses, particularly in light of our likely ascension to the World Trade Organization in the future.”

Turnquest went on to cite specific fields where he perceived there to be massive potential for growth by local entrepreneurs, namely financial services, air cargo and transhipment, pharmaceuticals, alternative energy, and maritime and aviation industry training and maintenance, among others.

“We have to have confidence that we can take the lead and we must be given the chance to compete and succeed to help our nation advance to the next level.”

In The Bahamas there is an absence of direct taxation, with the government gaining income through taxes on imported goods and materials. The tariff rate of 33 per cent may have to be reviewed once the jurisdiction joins the World Trade Organization.

International investors will find attractive incentives to do business in The Bahamas, available across a wide range of sectors from tourism to agriculture and industry. Learn more about the country’s vibrant investment environment, and what to include in a proposal.

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