Categorized | National News

Bowe Calls For Defined Policies

With the Commercial Enterprise Bill being passed in the House of Assembly last week, President of the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants, Gowon Bowe, said that he remains optimistic about the growth of the economy and that The Bahamas has not suffered from lack of interest when it comes to investment.

“You can measure optimism by the virtue of persons on the outside looking in and I think that the Bahamas has still not suffered from lack of interest, that persons are still there,” Mr. Bowe stated.

Appearing on Love 97’s weekday afternoon show “On Point”, Mr. Bowe said that there needs to be defined policies when it comes to presenting the Bahamian market to the world.

“We have, if you will, beholding to those who come in because we have no defined policy.

“We deal with every proposal, every new enterprise as a new negotiation. And it is done on a one-off basis,” Mr. Bowe indicated.

“We need to define our land policy; we need to define our economic policy; we need to define our actually concession policy, in terms of what we will use as stimulus and how we will grow.

“But more importantly we need to define what we want the Bahamas to be and market it to the world,” he said.

When questioned by the show’s host Wendall Jones regarding the threshold of the bill, Mr. Bowe indicated that steps must be taken to promote commercial activity and growth.

“We have to start looking at the country as a global player.

“There are some harsh realities when you speak about a population size of 400,000 persons, but in reality, with a land mass that can accommodate more.

“And, let me be very cautious. I’m not saying open it up so that you fill it with millions of non-Bahamians; it is saying that we have to take tangible steps towards increasing commercial activity in the country,” Mr. Bowe said.

Mr. Bowe did indicate however, that more could be done for Bahamian or local investments.

“The disappointing side of the bill, that has been debated, is it didn’t come along side, with what I would call, an overall plan of how this fits into economic policy, expansion growth and development.

“Had you said, my long term strategic plan, in terms of easing the act of doing business, getting the right skill-sets and personnel on board, includes ten parts, that it has a number of things I’m going to do for local businesses, a number of things. I’m going to do in taxing centers, overall immigration reform, which we’ve been speaking about for many, many years, and this is a component of that, and you can see how it fits in to a wider puzzle. I believe the discussion and debate would have gone in a different direction.

“The concern is, is this directed at specific enterprises and interests and are we forgetting the wider economy by virtue of selective legislation?

“I would just say that I am certainly supportive of taking steps to now improve efficiency in government. In terms of how we react to the global environment in which we operate, I am still a strong believer that you have to be talking about how the Bahamians own the economy when you talk about any type of international or Foreign Direct Investment coming in,” Mr. Bowe said.

With more than 30,000 Bahamians unemployed, Mr. Bowe said the need to create commercial activity is important.

“The only way persons get employed, without it being a social benefit is by having economic activity where persons are being engaged to have productive labour, be paid a wage, spend that in the economy, and then that self-perpetuating cycle becomes a positive self-perpetuating cycle,” Mr. Bowe said.

The Commercial Enterprise Bill stipulates that the business must invest a minimum of $250,000. Their employees requiring a permit must be certified professionals, and their work permit application must be made within 30 days of them entering the country.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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