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‘Shift In Thinking’ Vital To Reshape Economy

State Minister for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson said yesterday the Commercial Enterprise Bill is designed to boost the Grand Bahama economy, attracting new industries and create opportunities for Bahamians.

He stressed that tourism alone is not enough, and the bill is exactly what Grand Bahama needs.

“This government was elected to effect change and we cannot function as business as usual,” Mr Thompson said.

‘The growing of our economy will require a shift in policy and a shift in thinking.”

During a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, the minister indicated the passing of the Commercial Enterprise Bill and the Grand Bahama (Port Area) Extension of Tax Exemption Bill would increase the ease of doing business and attract investors to the island.

He believes the Commercial Enterprise Bill will attract industries, such as International Trade, Captive Insurance, Nano Technology and Data warehousing, that are not already doing business here.

“Tourism alone in Grand Bahama is not sufficient to grow our economy, and, therefore, we must attract more businesses by making it easier for them to come to Grand Bahama,” said Mr Thompson.

“We in GB have been talking about being the leader in the Technology, Arbitration, Maritime Trade, Captive Insurance, and this bill for the first-time providers an attractive package for businesses who are not here to come here and provide opportunities for Bahamians.” 

The minister said the government intends to make Grand Bahama a technology hub as promised at the first GB Technology Summit.

He stated technology businesses will bring in specially skilled persons who can train Bahamians.   

“This government was elected to effect change and we cannot function as business as usual, he stressed. “The growing of our economy will require a shift in policy and a shift in thinking.”

Minister Thompson explained the Commercial Enterprise Bill allows benefits to Bahamians and non-Bahamians. It also allows for special economic zones to be created all over the Bahamas, including GB where the model has previously worked, he said.  

Enterprises can apply for a certificate. But before a certificate is granted, the proposed enterprise must submit for approval the nature of the business, staffing needs, and training and capacity building for Bahamians.

Mr Thompson said the certificate must be reviewed every year and an assessment must been conducted of how the plan to include Bahamians is being executed. He noted that a number of specialized industries, such as The shipyard, BORCO, and the container port, have started by a similar means, by non-Bahamians coming in and starting industry and transferring skills and knowledge to Bahamians who have now taken over the industry.

Mr Thompson said that a more recent example was the launch of the Carnival Medallion Project in Grand Bahama where Bahamians are being trained in technology that did not exist in The Bahamas.

Turning to the Grand Bahama (Port Area) Extension of Tax Exemptions Bill, he assured that the government is focused on revitalizing the GB economy.

“The bill fulfills a campaign commitment to repeal and replace the job killing Grand Bahama Incentives Bill passed by the former PLP administration, the minister said.  

He stated the existing bill has never been fully brought into effect and has created an added layer of bureaucracy, red tape, and uncertainty for businesses in GB.

The minister said government will therefore provide the extension of tax incentives under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement for 20 years to all licensees along with the GBPA.

“This will create the needed certainty for business development,” Mr Thompson said.

He noted the bill also for the first time provides legislative framework for the One Stop Shop which will tremendously increase the ease of doing business in Grand Bahama.

Comments

birdiestrachan 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Mr: Thompson be sure to tell the Bahamian people when the first company arrives and how many Bahamians are employed. The Truth now, not like the our Lucaya Story or the road by the Priness opening.

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TheMadHatter 2 weeks, 4 days ago

There is no earthly reason why a bulldozer shouldn't be pushing open that road Monday morning.

Let the bastards sue the Govt and we just take the court award out of the money they owe employees, NIB, and gaming board.

Hurry up.

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Porcupine 2 weeks, 3 days ago

The change in thinking for the future requires a different way of thinking than is presented by our business gurus. https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/24/averting-the-apocalypse-lessons-from-costa-rica/

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proudloudandfnm 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Why do people keep talking about that 50 feet of road????

Opening that road would do absolutely nothing for Freeport. Not one tiny thing.

Please concentrate on real things. We need our hotels in Lucaya re-opened. We need those stupid customs fees removed so maritime will come back.

We absolutely DO NOT NEED THAT ROAD RE-OPENED....

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TheMadHatter 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Proudloudandfnm. I do not know...of course....but maybe you are not from freeport? I have for several years in both and grew up in fpo. For people from nassau i would equate the importance of that strip of road to be equal to Church Street in Nassau. For fpo people who visit nassau, Church St is the little short road you turn off Shirley St before the Anglican church to head to paradise island. It end when you hit the traffic light on Bay St. A very short road. YES Nassau coukd function without it. You could go dow a little further and cut through by commonwealrh bank and be on bay and then go to the bridge ir harbour bay or wheverever you were going.

Would that work? Yes.

Would it be a pain in the neck? Yes.

Is the Princess road a pain in the neck in fpo? Yes.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 3 days ago

"#He stated technology businesses will bring in specially skilled persons who can train Bahamians. "

There's nothing in this bill that says Bahamians "will" be trained

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Every Bahamian millionnare in Nassau ..........should be mandated to invest at least $250,000 in either his/her home island or island of choice with the necessary incentives ........ here is a list of possible investments ........ boutique hotels, apartments, car rentals, specialty vegetable/fruit farms, coconuts, tree fruits, corn/legumes, poultry/piggeries, fish processing, meat processing,salt manufacturing, hardwares, wholesale suppliers, water & ice making, online courier/shipping services, charter airlines, laundries/dry cleaners, ground transportation, ferries/watersports, taxi/tour buses, nightlife facilities, theatres, gymnatoriums, private health clinics, road repair, specialty construction & machinists, wood processing, renewable energy, special education, ........ etc, etc, etc.

There are tons of options for investment in the Out Islands ........ with proper regulation and planning ............ Where is that in the CEZ bill???????????

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Dawes 2 weeks, 1 day ago

This is why Government should be encouraging VRBO on all family islands. And then encourage the descendants in Nassau to build on the family islands and rent to the tourists. They would then need a local caretaker, plus the tourists would spend money at restaurants and bars etc. There is no need for huge hotels on the family islands as this would destroy them. Keep it small and personal.

Unfortunately a number of your other ideas would either not work or would already compete with businesses already opened by people from the island (every island has at least one bar / nightclub). But if people felt there was money to be made in it they would do it.

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Do you see how many options are given??????? ....... There is room for much investment on EVERY island.

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John 2 weeks, 2 days ago

The only shift in thinking needs to be ‘Bahamians running things’. And not no law making it more easier for foreigners to come her and put more chains on us. But ain’t no government gonna fix that but it will get fixed. Bahamians go in and possess the land that was given to you.... Amazing grace...how sweet the sound..

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Did you read my suggestions????? ........ If you want to "run things", the Bahamian entrepreneur needs to go to the economic frontiers and build new industries ......... No need to re-invent the wheel in Nassau anymore.

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BahamaPundit 2 weeks, 1 day ago

This Commercial Enterprise Bill is not controversial. What a load of crock. The Bill is no big deal and nothing very new has changed. The only thing of note is that the 500K threshold has been reduced to 250K for international investment. All of these sectors were open to international investment previously. What is all the fuss about? I can only imagine it is due to Bahamians not having read or understood the previous laws in place.

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Agreed .......... the big issue is that the PLP is insisting that the FNM is using this as a means to promote more work permits and baron landowners that may benefit FNM special interests.......... but that is old school PLPisms.

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bogart 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Same policies wrapped in different coloured paper according to whomsoever rules. The 500k to 250k for Freeport only means all those repossessed properties will be bought for little whereas govt should be investigating all these marginsl loans, predatory loans and underwater mortgages. We need to know why the Freeport economy collasped not only blaming the hurricanes. Protection for the Bahamian people should come first, with agencies to look out for the people first and not outsiders to come in and buy up all the peoples houses that they have sweatted a lifetime to own. More protections for the foreign banks, insurance, oil companies, hotels than the people who only seen important 2 weeks before elections.. Ridiculous that anyone will brlieve that any entrepreneur will stick to one business. Ask Mr. Kelly lumber store if all he sells is lumber. Bringing in 250k investors only seem to help the Port to sell properties. And more complaints at the .Labour Board for novice investors. We already have the small hotel encouragement act to develop small hotels and now we have AirBnB to compete.

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killemwitdakno 1 week, 6 days ago

Concession extension is a crying shame. There are people eating out of garbages in Freeport.

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