Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Financial services industry leaders met this week to discuss how to improve business in The Bahamas, boost the country’s competitiveness and encourage entrepreneurs.
During a panel discussion at the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA)’s annual Accountant’s Week, CEO of the Bahamas Financial Services Board Tanya McCartney said business needs to be more streamlined in the country and linked ease of doing business with The Bahamas’ ability to compete within the region and globally.
“It is a question of competitiveness,” she said. “It impacts how competitive we are as a jurisdiction. It is important that we focus on the solutions as we look at ease of doing business. The landscape is changing considerably and it is happening rapidly. Ease of doing business is one of those areas that will help us mitigate the changes that are taking place.”
McCartney said a review of current immigration policies would assist The Bahamas in attracting new foreign investment and also urged for a more efficient approvals process, saying: “We see opportunities to refine processes, to review policy and to take some bold action to make The Bahamas more competitive.”
Dr Nicola Virgill-Rolle, director of economic development and planning in the Office of the Prime Minister, also attended the panel and gave an insight into how the government’s National Development Plan will address some of the systemic challenges. Improving ease of doing business is a specific goal in the plan which will focus on governance, human capital, the adoption of technology, managing change and monitoring performance.
“You have to make it easy for business to work. The private sector is the engine of growth in any economy. Other countries have outpaced us. We need to keep up the pace of reform to meet the changes the business community demands,” said Dr Virgill-Rolle.
Speaking on behalf of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce & Employers Confederation (BCCEC), BCCEC director Tanya Morley Nolan said the organization is focusing on helping entrepreneurs start businesses. She highlighted the difficulty new business owners face in getting approvals and said other priorities for the BCCEC are reducing the cost of energy and reevaluating business licence fees.
The BICA event took place at the Melia resort, Nassau as part of a week-long series of presentations. Other speakers during the week included Ryan Pinder, partner at Graham Thompson, and Christina Rolle, executive director of the Securities Commission of The Bahamas.