Gov’t ‘finalising’ reforms to boost business ease


Tribune Business Reporter


The Attorney General yesterday said the Government is “finalising” legal reforms designed to improve the ease of doing business following consultations with several industry groups.

Ryan Pinder, speaking before the full Cabinet meeting, said the Philip Davis-led administration is placing a “key focus” on facilitating commerce and reducing bureaucracy to help the economy revive from its COVID-19 induced slump.

Disclosing that he has already forwarded recommendations to the Cabinet on what should be included in the Government’s legislative agenda, which is due to be unveiled via the Speech from the Throne during Parliament’s October 6 opening, Mr Pinder said: “Certainly a key focus of our government is going to be to facilitate commerce and business, and to remove impediments and bureaucracies in that fashion.

“We have had some consultations with the business community and with industry groups to look to advance that.” Without going revealing any specifics, he added: “I know some of the other ministries within the context of advancing the country, from a commercial point of view, have some suggestions on legislative amendments.

“I would not want to pre-empt the Prime Minister, nor the Governor General, on the Speech from the Throne. So we will be finalising that.”

Krystelle Rutherford-Ferguson, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) chair, described the administration’s focus on facilitating commerce as “positive” news. She added that the Chamber has already reached out to Mr Pinder and other Cabinet ministers, and is “anticipating” a meeting with the attorney general soon.

Mrs Rutherford-Ferguson said: “The business community has a lot of issues currently stemming from the impact of COVID-19, such as navigating through the COVID restrictions; disruption in the supply chain; increased costs of shipping; and reduced workforce as a result of workers contracting COVID-19, among other things. There are key areas of interest which we are planning to address with the new administration.”

These issues include the cost of doing business, which ties into the “cost of energy, business license fees, cost of rent and the ever-shifting cost of labour, particularly in light of COVID-19 restrictions”. All have been identified as “fluid” issues hampering commerce.

Mrs Rutherford-Ferguson also wants the new administration to focus on the ease of doing business. “The digitisation of government services has had a positive impact on the productivity and efficiencies in government services,” she said.

“There are still many government services that have yet to be digitised and processes that can be optimised. It’s not only important that these services be moved to a digital platform. It’s also important that the processes be reviewed and optimised where possible.”

She added that tax reform must also be a priority given the global push towards a 15 percent corporate tax rate. Mrs Rutherford-Ferguson said it was “important” for The Bahamas to look at how it can best reform the current tax structure to meet this challenge, and how the Government can simplify the process.


mirkovonkovats@gmail.com 1 year, 6 months ago

115% corporate tax is fine BUT on condition of REMOVAL of business license fees which in reality is higher as many businesses are of low or no profitability. Then a clear tax code is required with clear incorruptible publicized udepreciation rules, and abolishment of import duties. Same time VAT 15%. And sell all SOE’s this can’t be repeated often enough. If you do this there won’t be any need for the IMF to take over. If you don’t it’s a question of weeks or few months they will be here. It’s so simple.After decades of spending the game is over. Let’s wish this government all success to keep the IMF out. Only action will impress them. Restructure the bloated civil service before others do.


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