No More Nib Letters For Business Licence


Marlon Johnson


Tribune Business Editor


The Government has eliminated the need for companies to provide upfront proof of National Insurance Board (NIB) compliance before they can obtain business licence renewals.

Marlon Johnson, pictured, the Ministry of Finance’s financial secretary, confirmed to Tribune Business that the Minnis administration has ended “one of the major issues of contention” for the private sector in time for 2019’s renewals.

He warned, though, that companies are “not off the hook” when it comes to being current with NIB contributions, as compliance checks have now moved “from the front end to the back end”.

Mr Johnson said the ministry remains firm in not issuing business licences to firms that are delinquent on their social security contributions, and promised that the Department of Inland Revenue will be constantly checking with NIB to identify those that are non-compliant.

He spoke out after Tribune Business was informed that NIB was telling businesses who approached it that they no longer need to obtain “letters of good standing” to accompany business licence renewal filings and payments.

Rick Lowe, Nassau Motor Company’s (NMC) operations manager/director, told Tribune Business: “Another positive development. NIB informed us, after standing in line, that they will notify the Ministry of Finance of the companies that are not up-to-date. No more NIB letter of compliance. Yay!

“Don [Clarke] went to NIB and they said: ‘You don’t have to get a letter of good standing any more. That’s a good thing. It saves a lot of time. It’s an aggravator. Last year Don had to make three trips there for it. It’s just cost savings and time savings - good news for a change.”

Bahamian businesses have grown increasingly frustrated in recent years with the Government’s inefficient, cumbersome approvals processes, many of which remain paper-based amid the lack of electronic (Internet) connectivity between different agencies and departments and with the private sector.

A regular complaint has been the need to visit, and obtain, approvals from multiple agencies to gain key permits such as the Business Licence, all of which costs companies time and money, and undermines the “ease of doing business” in The Bahamas.

NIB ‘letters of good standing’ have been among biggest issues, given the difficulties many companies experience in obtaining them - as illustrated by Mr Lowe. Mr Johnson, though, said eliminating the need for this document is just one of a wider package of reform measures the Government plans to enact imminently.

“As the Government has promised, we have been taking some concrete steps to make it easier for businesses to go through the Business Licence process,” he told Tribune Business. “This [the NIB letter elimination] is one element of it.

“We’ll make some announcements on it in due course. That’s one of the steps we’re taking. We haven’t made the announcement yet, but intend to make businesses aware of that shortly. We’ve made a commitment to making it easier to do business, and since the beginning of the calendar year we’ve been exploring ways to make it easier for people to get into business, to get their Business Licence.”

Mr Johnson admitted that NIB ‘letters of good standing’ have been “one of the major issues of contention” when it comes to the ease of doing business, and added: “We believe we can do it much more efficiently administratively.

“Instead of having businesses do that on the front end, we will do that on the back end to determine if businesses are compliant. That was one we realised we could do very readily at the back end. “

However, he warned: “This does not get businesses off the hook to be compliant with NIB. We are working with NIB to get information on delinquent businesses upfront. We will check when businesses come in against the information we have and not extend Business Licences to persons who the data indicates are non-compliant.

“It’s incumbent, before businesses come to us for Business Licences, to ensure they’re compliant with NIB if they have reason to think they’re not.” The timely, and full, payment of due NIB contributions has been a regular compliance issue for The Bahamas’ national social security system.


DDK 1 year, 8 months ago

All well and fine, Mr. Johnson. Are you aware that there are NIB offices that are so far behind in their NIB receipt postings to Nassau Head Office that Nassau is unaware that customers are up-to-date or even prepaid and rejecting applications based on NIB collection office slackness? Surely it is incumbent that NIB employees do their jobs on behalf of The People who pay their salaries.


Dawes 1 year, 8 months ago

Some one may want to make sure Inland Revenue is aware of this, otherwise next year a lot of people will be denied business license as they didn't send in their NIB letter.


birdiestrachan 1 year, 8 months ago

Why not have the Company National Insurance payments up to date. ? here again this FNM government is not looking after the poor people. Rick Lowe's joy is understandable.


John 1 year, 8 months ago

In other words being delinquent on your NIB contributions will not prevent you from paying your business license fees. But it will prevent a company from getting a business license certificate after they have paid their fees. So government will still get its revenue.


John 1 year, 8 months ago

And imagine what will happen when NHI comes on stream. The figures being thrown around is a contribution of $84.00 a month, per employee. Take a look around and see how many businesses can afford that. You think if they cannot keep the lights on they can afford these contributions? Many will be wiped out within the first year of this scheme going into effect, causing more unemployment and financial headaches for government. Making twenty five cents on a phone card, a vendor will have to sell 336 phone cards or turn over revenue of $1,645.00 just to pay his NHI contribution. And there are some mom and pop stores that turn over $100 a day. So basically government is telling these businesses that they can no longer exist. So say goodbye to the patties and soda stand.


The_Oracle 1 year, 8 months ago

Legit shop fronts will disappear, road side shacks/vendors will increase. Roadside operators will pay to remain un-harassed, much as they do now. Government revenue will drop, Government rhetoric louder. Ironic the Government stands on the shakiest ground ever, but demands good standing from the private sector. Like a drunkard extolling the virtues of sobriety.


Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 8 months ago

Yep, crippling government policies, horrendous taxation and outrageous utility bills are paving the way for the Haitianization of our country. Johnson's poor attitude towards local businesses and outright disdain for most Bahamian business owners is only accelerating the process of private sector job layoffs and shrinking the tax base of the country. We urgently need a Financial Secretary who is much better able to understand, manage and balance the country's revenue needs with the plight of business owners who can barely keep their doors open to customers. When is Minnis going to park Johnson somewhere where he can cause no additional harm to the business community at large?


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

He's not going to do it. Dr Minnis is fully aware that he is not qualified for that post. He was put there for another reason. I remember new poster saying that everyone who said he wasn't qualified for the post was jealous and he always reads Johnson's posts on FB. At minimum Minnis has turned finance into a gigantic PR shell

My belief is someone is profiting off of Johnson's inexperience. Who is the advisor that he is "leaning" on? Who is getting paid to "help" him? Who maybe enjoys having an inexperienced person there so no one can question them? And it doesn't hurt if they can convince him to give them a nonsense contract either. The exact same thing is happening with the tech hub. These guys know how lost Minnis is and they whispering in his ear to profit themselves.


John 1 year, 7 months ago

This "Global Engineered Financial Crisis' started in 2008. First with the housing crisis when thousands of loans were given out at rates and under conditions the borrowers would not be able to pay. Even though most of these loans were in the US, they were sold to unsuspecting banks across the globe by gangster banker. Then these bankers still went and got bail-out money from the Obama administration to the tune of $57 Billion and they still foreclosed on many homes and many who were unemployed also found themselves homeless. Well the same thing happens with countries. These organizations come in and loan money. Lots of it. And so the countries find it more and more difficult to pay the loans. So they must raise taxes and introduce new taxes. And even after this, some find they are still operating in deficit or their national budgets are still growing. So organizations, like the World Bank and IMF come and offer assistance. But the requirements are stringent and all the quality of life has been bled out of the citizens of that country. The cost of living, especially for food, becomes too high for the lower and middle class especially. Government is so indebted, it is no longer autonomous, and rather than cater to the needs and wishes of its people, it must now pander to the organizations it is indebted to. Civil unrest and rioting become alternatives to homelessness and starvation. And in some cases the situation becomes such that the country becomes a failed state.


BONEFISH 1 year, 7 months ago

The FS position was a payoff for the services he provided the FNM during the election campaign.He is one of Minnis's key advisors.He don't know what is doing.To hide that fact, Cartwright was promoted from treasury to aid him.He is really a public relations man.His predecessor Wilson,was a competent and honest civil servant. You see how a year after effectively disbanding the revenue enhancement unit, he had to go back and reform it. He and Turnquest claimed it was ineffective.Several persons I have spoken to me,have told me these things about him. but he will fumble along here.because this is the Bahamas.


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