Categorized | Featured, National News

Senate Passes Several Bills

Before the end of the year, companies in The Bahamas will be incorporated entirely online, a move that will bring with it higher fees for business owners.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said the government will be bringing legislation to make this happen.

In fact, she said the software is already being designed.

“For someone to sit at their desk and incorporate a company, there needs to be a bridge between the software that would be available to the public and what is now in existence at the Registrar General’s Department,” the PLP Senator said.

“One of the major concerns is that it is difficult on a timely basis to get a certificate of good standing. Think about this. Transpose yourself to 2015 where you’d be sitting at your desk, reserve a name online, entirely online incorporate a company. There’s no human reaction, no hold up; in minutes, seamless.”

Mrs. Maynard-Gibson however acknowledged that all this has to be paid for and that as a result, there will be some fee increases.

“You would file your annual return, pay your annual fees and with a click of your mouse, out comes your certificate of good standing,” she further explained.

“Don’t you think we in The Bahamas deserve to have this new system and we will.”

According to the attorney general, the government is also moving towards creating a digital register in the case of maritime marriages.

“Young people who wish to become entrepreneurs. We have negotiated a possibility where we can have wedding registers online. There is no reason why someone who gets married on the high seas in the Pacific Ocean, might not wish to have Bahamian products as part of their wedding register. For example, seashell napkins or straw placements,” she said.

Mrs. Maynard-Gibson’s comments came while leading off debate on the Bahamas Spatial Infrastructure Bill in the Upper Chamber Monday morning.

The legislation, which now moves on to the governor general for assent, essentially provides the legal framework for digital mapping to take place in the country.

At the end of the day, it not only modernizes the public sector but advances e-government and by the same token saves money and cuts down on the red tape often associated with the civil service.

The legislation also paves the way for a Geospatial Advisory Council, which would regulate the collection, management, maintenance, integration and distribution of geospatial data.

But while he acknowledged that the council is a positive move, Opposition Senator Kwesi Thompson expressed a serious concern.

“In most countries where they have legislation and this type of infrastructure it is actually driven by the private sector because the private sector is the one that has the expertise with respect to his spatial infrastructure and so we would like to see more involvement by the private sector and that there is oversight by the government with respect to how this information is being used,” he said.

The Bahamas Spatial Infrastructure Bill is just one of several pieces of legislation senators put their stamp of approval on yesterday.

Amendments to a compendium of crime bills as well as the Forestry and Early Childhood Care Acts were also passed.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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