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BCCEC to Host Ease of Doing Business Conclave

Potential solutions that are necessary for making it easy to do business in The Bahamas will be the aim of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation’s (BCCEC) fourth annual National Conclave this month.

Speaking with the media at a press conference yesterday to announce their plans for the event, Conclave Chairperson Christina Lee Darville said the organization is looking forward to the discussions of the two-day symposium.

“We are talking about, what is a sexy topic, its ‘The Ease of Doing Business,’ and we know that this is something that’s been in the forefront of everyone’s minds,” Mrs. Darville said.

“We are having five major round tables that would be discussing starting a business, taxation, labour and employment, energy and archipelago development and infrastructure, which seems to be the largest issues to have been brought forward, not only by the members that are members of our chamber and those in the Family Islands, but also outside external business owners that have put forth their thoughts about those being the most relevant topics for discussion.”

Mrs. Darville indicated that not only would the conclave discuss relevant topics that many business owners are challenged with, but also will attempt to provide possible solutions.

“Our intention at the conclave is not only to bring the data of what the issues and challenges that we see as the nation with regard to that in the private sector, but the potential solution,” she said.

“We are looking forward to having tremendous resources at those round tables to discuss them.”

Outgoing chairman of the Chamber Gowon Bowe further elaborated on the idea behind the theme of the conclave, giving numerous areas of doing business that he would like to see business in The Bahamas done easier.

“The ease of doing business in The Bahamas or the lack there of has been a major hindrance to our realizing our full potential,” Mr. Bowe said.

“When you stop and speak to individuals and you look at the five things that are there, paying taxes is continuing to be seen as just a difficult process that ‘I don’t want to stand in line to pay my taxes.’

“Road traffic as an example, I know I have to get my car inspected, but why can’t I pay online? Why can’t I get disc as pick up?

“When I have to go pay customs, they’ve moved to electronic submission, so why isn’t everything online and then the inspection takes place?

“We look at VAT that has gone virtual, meaning you don’t walk in to pay VAT.  You don’t walk in to pay business licence.

“So, persons want to see it easier to do that, but they also want to see it easy to get money back when an error has been made.”

Mr. Bowe further indicated that one of the areas that would need clarification for business would be on the taxes.

“Are we using right forms of tax?  Is business licence charged on gross number correct that’s stifling business? So really yes, you collecting a number, but putting people out of business.

“Where as if you collected on gross profit, maybe not net profit, so that only businesses that make money pay tax.”

As to other round table discussions, Mr. Bowe indicated that bringing in labourers where necessary if there are not enough skilled workers is a labour and immigration side.

Mr. Bowe said the “ease of doing business as an actual theme is more around concept and not reports, not changing ranking but more of saying what would make businesses feel more comfortable and confident to say expand.”

The conclave is scheduled for June 14-15 at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and will bring together senior policymakers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academia and high-level representatives from chambers across The Bahamas.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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