Bahamians were yesterday warned that the cost of imported air freight will increase “tremendously” as a result of the new Customs fees and fines set to be imposed on operators from today.
Lack of private sector involvement has been a key factor in why the Bahamas’ bid for full World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership has lasted 15 years and counting, a former Securities Commission principal believes.
The Government’s reconstituted trade negotiating bodies face a “huge task”, its chief negotiator acknowledged yesterday, adding that his appointment showed it wanted to “accelerate” the Bahamas’ accession to full World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership.
The Bahamas’ merchandise trade deficit fell by 12.3 per cent in 2015 to $2.719 billion, as the decline in imports offset a more than one-third reduction in exports.
The threat of a Bahamas boycott by Florida-based air cargo operators was yesterday branded as “the unintended consequences of ill-thought out policy” by the Opposition’s deputy leader. K P Turnquest warned that as an import-dependent economy, reliant on international transportation links, the Bahamian economy could only suffer if freight companies reduced or eliminated services to this nation.
The Bahamas has “a lot of work to do” before it sees a dramatic improvement in the ease of doing business, the Opposition’s finance spokesman said yesterday, adding: “There’s just too much government bureaucracy.”
The Democratic National Alliance’s (DNA) leader has pledged to ease the Bahamas’ exchange control regime if elected to office, and to make the Bahamas known as a “country open for business”.
The Prime Minister yesterday said he was targeting a ‘top 50’ ranking for the Bahamas in the World Bank’s ‘ease of doing business’ index within five years, arguing that its current 106th spot does not reflect its capabilities and potential.
Florida-based air cargo companies are threatening to boycott the Bahamas over the new Customs fees and fines set to be introduced tomorrow, with this newspaper told: “It’s D-Day time.”
The Supreme Court yesterday ruled it was legally impossible for Sarkis Izmirlian to acquire the rights to Baha Mar’s $192 million damages claim against the project’s contractor.
A Cabinet Minister yesterday admitted that successive governments had “committed some sins” in failing to properly manage the Bahamas, as he warned: “The world is leaving us behind.”
The Bahamas Society of Engineers (BSE) president yesterday bemoaned how local professionals were frequently being ‘frozen out’ of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, with work “never touching our soil”.
The Government’s leading official on the National Development Plan yesterday said its Secretariat had completed a first draft of the project, describing it as a “solutions and strategy” based-document.
The Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) is currently mulling another fee increase, as it predicts a “few more years” of losses following $15.1 million in ‘red ink’ incurred during its 2015 financial year.
The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce (BCCEC) warned yesterday that any Government move to force businesses to reduce prices in line with import duty cuts would be akin to “economic dictatorship” and “Gestapo tactics”.