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Economist: Enterprises Bill $250k Should Be ‘Bit Higher’

THE Commercial Enterprises Bill’s $250,000 investment threshold should have been “a bit higher”, a University of the Bahamas economist argued yestrerday.

Rupert Pinder, addressing the Rotary Club of West Nassau, said the $250,000 benchmark for foreign companies applying under the Bill did not match the level of incentives being granted.

“I was disappointed with the $250,000 threshold. If the intent is to attract foreign direct investment, when you look at some of the concessions being given by way of work permits and that sort of thing, in my view the bar should have been set a bit higher,” he argued.

Officially known as an Act for the Designation of Commercial Enterprises and Specified Economic Zones in the Bahamas, the Commercial Enterprises Bill “seeks to liberalise the granting of work permits to an enterprise that wishes to establish itself in the Bahamas, and requires work permits for its management team and key personnel”. The company’s investment, however, must be a minimum of $250,000. 

The legislation enables a “specified commercial enterprise” to obtain an Investments Board certificate granting it a specific number of work permits for certain positions. The certificate, which will initially be issued for one year and can be renewed, would allow key personnel to set up the company’s physical operations in the Bahamas before they obtained a work permit.

Such a permit must be applied for within 30 days of their entry, and the bill mandates the Director of Immigration to make a decision on approval within 14 days of receiving the application. If the director does not respond within that timeframe, the work permit will be “automatically deemed to have been granted”.

Work permits issued under the Bill’s provisions will be for a three-year period, and are renewable for the same duration.

Mr Pinder said he was disappointed by the level of debate over the Bill.

“For a piece of legislation that persons were arguing was supposed to be so revolutionary I was just surprised at the low level of debate,” he said.  

“The other thing I expected a bit more debate with is the 14-day turnaround.

“The question is whether or not we have the resources in place to give that kind of turnaround.” 

Comments

banker 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh fer fook's sakes again. Here we have a protectionist pseudo-science economist blathering stupidities. Just one tech success can fix the employment situation of the Bahamas. Rolling the dice doesn't cost anything and there is only upside to rejuvenating the economy.

When will these d*ckwads understand, that it isn't about FDI or Foreign Direct Investment? We have had generations of FDI and where has it gotten us? It is about job creation, creation of new sectors of the economy and diversification of the economy. Stupid Bahamians like this are part of the problem and not of the solution.

We are at a unique juncture in history, where brainpower alone, with virtually no other resources can revitalise the economy. These troglodytes (to save you looking it up -- fooking dinosaurs) don't know their rectums from a hole in the ground, even though both entities reflect their brain power and ability to think to advance the Bahamas.

We should throw the doors wide open for free, and let them help save us. We een doing too good of a job ourselves.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 6 months ago

The problem I have with this theory that one successful foreign firm wil result in gigantic progress for the country is, it's the same argument given for Atlantis, Bahamar, Rev, yes they provide low skilled jobs, for the most part, and those jobs are important, but the lions share of the money made goes right back out the country. With no real development of our human capital.We need to be incentivizing Bahamians to build these businesses so the country feels the benefit, we need to intentionally train Bahamians so Bahamians get the high paying jobs, and we're not doing it.

Mr Pinder is quite intelligent btw. You should have a conversation with him. Everything he said sounds quite reasonable to me: the negotiations should have resulted in "equitable" benefits on both sides, the 14 day turnaround is unrealistic, might as well say you don't need work permits for how achievable that timeline is given the existing challenges, and there was no debate, they passed it in a day. Don't see anything dinosaurish about his comments. He's stating facts.

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OldFort2012 2 years, 6 months ago

You are right. The Law should have said: provided you give us a $500 bribe, we can turn the wok permit around in 30 minutes.

Now, seriously: how is 14 days not reasonable? What do you need to do? There are no checks of any kind to be made, those have already taken place beforehand, at Stage 1. All this genius working in Immigration has to do is print off the credit card sized permit while attaching the holder's photo.

It's not like there will be thousands to do. 100/year max.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 6 months ago

OK i admit, 14 days sounds reasonable in "theory", but when you consider that the process is manual, that they're understaffed considering its manual, that they have a backlog of residency applications that Brent Symonnette ACTUALLY said he doesn't have any idea when they will clear them up...14 days is pie in the sky.

You're considering a scenario where the genius only has to print off the credit card, if that's indeed what they do,... I went to a government office the other day and omg, I couldn't take it, people walking up and down have to get this paper then that signed or stamped, so and so out to lunch etc etc, just watching them gave me a headache and that's one application, they have to handle thousands.they could have easily made it 30 days with no one feeling any pain. If these businesses are as efficient as we want to believe they'll submit their applicactions in anticipation of a 30 day turnaround.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 6 months ago

100 per year max? You're forgetting that these people aren't just sitting down all day waiting for these work permits to come in, they have a huge immigration backlog, your application is behind 1000 applications for Philippino doctors, maids, Chinese labourers, Haitian construction workers and gardeners. There's an assembly line and a process. They should have fixed it before doing this.

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OldFort2012 2 years, 6 months ago

All you say is most probably true. However, setting up a separate process for these applications is also simplicity itself. I am sure you and I could design and implement it in a day. Inputs to separate MySQL database, file save, press P.

If we can all agree that letting these people get on with it (the sooner they do, the sooner they will employ some Bahamians) is slightly more important than processing maids and gardeners (nothing against maids and gardeners, talking about the greater good) then it really is not too much to ask to perform a task that takes about 2 minutes within 14 days.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 6 months ago

You're behind me, I started designing while I was watching those workers walk up and down

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 6 months ago

And remember that these guys supposed to submit business plans inclusive of staffing, very little should catch them by surprise. Now if some equipment fails and they need to bring in specialized talent to take care of it, that can be accounted for as a one off expedited request.

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banker 2 years, 6 months ago

Cayman Enterprise -- pay your $12,000, give them a list of people who need work permits, they let you into the country with all your stuff without duty, and the work permits are ready in 5 days. That's all it takes - $12,000. And that is why they are eating our lunch.

When I see idjits arguing about more than $250,000 or we can't do it in 14 days, it makes me want to cry. Why are we so fooking backwards in every way ??????????? Why are we so narrow-minded and stupid?

The reason that foreigners ate our lunch in previous times, is because we asked for bribes and let them know that we are a country for sale, and we Bahamians didn't give a shiite about. Want our beaches ? Give me a bribe and take them. Want our hilltops? Give me a bribe and take them. Want workers? Bahamians een good fer anyting 'cept carrying bags and washin' floors. We like dem kinds of work.

A programmer makes three times the salary of a maid or cashier. A technical architect makes 10 times the salary of a maid, a taxi driver or a bellman. An analyst, a database administrator, a mobile web app developer, a network technician -- they all make multiples of the average Bahamian wage. And we let these businesses in and we will get them.

And no Pinder is not intelligent if he can't understand this. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the billionaire investor who wrote the Black Swan, is trying to get the Nobel Prize for Economics rescinded, because it is not a real science. Economists are only right when they are right, and when they are wrong, it causes societal chaos.

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OldFort2012 2 years, 6 months ago

If someone came to me with a $250,000 order, I would jump over backwards to finish some stupid paperwork to get it.

The problem with our civil servants is that they don't give a shit. They get paid regardless of the work they do (or mostly, don't do). Pay them by results and you will see how they can issue a work permit in 30 minutes, let alone 14 days.

I would just bypass the Immigration Ministry altogether. Make it an online service. Fill in the forms, press print, get your work permit. Never have to see the inside of one of those stinking buildings.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 6 months ago

"I would just bypass the Immigration Ministry altogether. Make it an online service. Fill in the forms, press print, get your work permit. Never have to see the inside of one of those stinking buildings"

Perfect!!! Exactly my point, do that THEN pass the law

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 6 months ago

Does Cayman have 60,000 "documented" Haitians in their islands? When I heard that statistic I could mot believe it. It's only a wild guess as to how many undocumented there are. We have problems Cayman doesn't have, getting to where they are is a process, we can't go from chaos to 14 day turnaround in one day with the stroke of a pen

Nassim would have probably had Edison institutionalized. Just because it's his view doesn't mean he's right either

As to highly skilled technical workers, I completely agree we need better trained Bahamians. But we are not going to get there "hoping" some nice foreigner "as may be agreed to" trains them, it will NEVER happen. I remember asking a British consultant 20 years ago a very simple question, I was like .0005 clicks from the answer, I just didn't know it at the time, he never answered, as simple as that was. And that is the standard.

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banker 2 years, 6 months ago

In 2009 I did a study using Bayesian inference on the number of illegals or undocumented on New Providence. It was in the order of 70,000 back then, plus or minus 10%.

But that is not an impediment to development or economic diversification. The impediment to economic development is mindset.

What are we afraid of? If we are highly skilled Bahamians, doing best-of-breed work, then we can out-compete foreigners. If we will lose our jobs because foreigners do it better, faster, cheaper or higher quality, then we deserve to lose our jobs. The lack of productivity retards the entire country.

Look, I pretty much "lost" my job because of the contraction in the financial services industry -- specifically wealth management. The flight of capital was horrible. One of my top revenue-producing clients, a British pound billionaire, decided to leave. He called it a "tropical shiite hole". He actually decided that he was going to pay income tax rather than live here. On top of the small diminished life (food stores with sub-standard stock -Supervalue, no culture, limited arts, movies censored by the BCC, no decent shopping, impossible to take his fancy car for a decent spin unless it was the few miles toward Jaws Beach past Lifeless Cay, just generally nothing to do, no football teams to watch), on top of all of that, our financial services infrastructure sucked -- week to clear a cheque, etc.

If we had a bunch of high earners here because of tax structures and climate, then all of the stuff that the HNWI's want that adds up to quality of life, would start to appear, and it would benefit all Bahamians.

And when I decided to do a career switch, I got a work permit and residency status within ten days when my employer applied for it. Nobody was afraid that I would take someone else's job when I arrived.

We have to stop our parochial, Mickey Mouse thinking and take a world view. We can't operate in a vacuum. The US and Canada built their greatness on immigrants. They bring new skills and a fire in the belly to succeed. And when they succeed, we all succeed.

We need a miracle to save us. Unfortunately the only miracle that Bahamian Jesus can do, is make a man deaf, dumb, blind and stupid.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 6 months ago

It's not about fear, it's about fighting fir your people, the ones who are making 250 per week or less, and will only make it to these high paying jobs in their dreams. They are not dumb, they've just been victims of economics. All I see is more and more low wage persons getting fired and all I hear is a bunch of rich people talking about how wonderful it is that we won't have to hire Bahamians anymore. I say do something to uplift those people at the bottom, THAT will help us all

I'll be the last person to support incompetence, I am not saying keep unskilled workers employed just so they can be employed. I am saying train them INTENTIONALLY so they can be employed. Forget about what they didn't do when they had the opportunity and who's fault it is that they are where they are, help them to move where they need to be. The first allegiance of the govt is to its people, not to campaign donors

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banker 2 years, 6 months ago

A few observations. I don't see how this bill is paying off campaign donors. This bill is specifically designed to diversify the economy. That is the bottom line.

Secondly, the overarching duty of the government, is to lead and guide the country and do what is best for the country. Taking care of specific groups of people is what the PLP did. Sometimes what is good for the country, particularly for the ambiguous, indefinable future is at odds with the status quo and subjective interests of a group of people in the country. Remedial action is often painful and fraught with danger to some folks. But it has to be done.

The shrinking middle class is by no means a Bahamian phenomenon. It is present everywhere. The only antidote is income diversity and this is what the bill is all about.

We can't train Bahamians in the knowledge industry unless we have knowledge industries. You can train all that you want, but if there is no business for them here, it is all in vain.

I see huge suffering for most of the people in the Bahamas, but it will come either way. The only difference is that with the proposed legislation, there is at least a chance of economic diversification and redemption. Without it, we might as well all kiss our ass goodbye now.

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bogart 2 years, 6 months ago

While they are many troglodyles there are a good amount of Luddites. As we know FDI has been going nonstop or should be but we or they the decision makers have formed a NOMENCLATURA system where they a bond with each other through myriad of ways. Cronies are put into Boards of Directors and ASTONISHINGLY oversee entities lose money, wastage of millions and Noone seems to be held accountanle, friends protecting each other who operate without being named. Clico MILLIONS EXITING the country and the CENTRAL BANK NOTheld accountable, BANK of the Bahamas taking the then unregulated number house deposits, ..., Development Bank losing money noone fired. ÑIB FUNDS PLACED IN everyone else know it losing govt entities and noone responsible. We all know we need to diversify to spread and create employment. People will beat you silly to protect the nomenclatura where they benefit, people will prop up failing entities festering and needing endless taxpsyer money. Money in the cookie jar is the peoples money. Close and sell the nonperformers. We are all proud Bahamians no different from the Bahamian registered ownres of Carks Jrs, or Mauras, or Russells,or Nassau Shop, or Ironmongery, etc but as commonsense good Bahamians they knew knew when to close and cut losses. The Immigration dept has existed for decades and if there are backlogs because of frsud, duplicate names then JAILthe guilty,,,,!! The entire country refuses to be shamefaced because whosoever the buck stops at need to be fired for incompetance!!! Obstructionists need to be fired. Throw the doors open to all and have an independent select Economic Investment decide. Tired pf all those who were in power and failed now surprisingly have the solution. As for economists we can talk M1M2M3, widgets till the cows home, get grey listed, black listed but until we are prepared to jail and fire obstructionists, protectors of cromies, managemrnt even yhough they have repeatedly year after year lost money and failed miserably to protect the taxpayers money in the cookie jar.

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TheMadHatter 2 years, 6 months ago

Banker.....you keep showing your intellect and talking too much sense like that and you run the risk of getting your passport and birth cert revoked and your a** shipped out. LOL

Minnis is trying to repeal the laws that forbid Bahamian success and he is catching a lot of flack from the Domino Players Guild.

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banker 2 years, 6 months ago

I am already gone in terms of employment. I am back here on holidays for Christmas, and to kick out the renters outta the condo and clean it out.

Ironically, I now pay income tax, and the tax authorities een happy with my bank account in a tax haven with no automatic information exchange, so I guess my 18 year old bank account gets closed too.

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John2 2 years, 6 months ago

@TheMadhaiter*r ....I agree, Banker, Thesisours, oldfort2012 bogart** have provided a platora of factual comments on this feed that can be used in any dissertation case study on what went wrong in the Bahamas from an economic perspective and possible solutions... Much more interesting read than what the economist had to say at the rotary club. My only five cents is "you cant put a benchmark price on an investment idea" .

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banker 2 years, 6 months ago

We do have the answers among us. A colleague sent from Florida sent me this link. It is a speech from the Grand Bahama Tech summit on how to fix the Bahamas. I agree 100% with the ideas expressed by the speaker here.

https://www.gbtalks.com/2017/12/03/ke...">https://www.gbtalks.com/2017/12/03/ke...

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BahamaPundit 2 years, 6 months ago

Even are so called academics are complete idiots. It was never about 250K but about the Bahamas gaining currency and utility within the global marketplace. I wish we could throw water balloons at idiots like this.

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