Categorized | National News

Minister Addresses Investment Promotion And High Unemployment

The government is hoping to modernize the entire approach to investing and doing business in The Bahamas.

State Minister for Investments Khaalis Rolle said as much while addressing prospective investors about current trends in The Bahamas to create jobs and expand the industry.
”I looked at other jurisdictions and what they are doing, in investment promotion and the structure of investment promotion activities,” said Minister Rolle.

“I started to develop this plan, which I presented to the prime minister, that when we launch it, it is the blueprint for us getting a system that is very accommodating, so that at a keystroke, I know every single investor in The Bahamas; I know how long they have been here; I know what they have invested in; I know their background; I know what their capability is; I know what peculiar issue they need help with; and that’s the point that we are trying to get to,” the minister said during the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit. Minister Rolle said he wants investors to be able to pick up the phone or go online, download and submit an application and within 24 to 48 hours, get a response. He said investors would not have to interface with a very old process that may be personality driven.
The minister admits changing the industry from relying on personalities and government to policy driven work ethics will take time. But, he said investors should not have to differentiate between an outgoing government and an incoming government as the process should be institutionalised or seamless. He noted that when he headed the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, this was an influential entity in the private sector, which, over a period of time, lost touch with what is the modern means of business. “I stayed there for the greater part of two years, just going through that modernisation process. I’m taking the same private sector philosophy to the public sector and it’s not easy,” he said.

“You’re changing an animal that grew over a period of time and yet you will have a bureaucratic red tape that exist that is personality driven, that is legislatively driven. It’s going to take some time for us to become that destination where everything is automatic and it relies very little on personalities and government.” Minister Rolle said.
The minister further explained that the employment problem is compounded by government problems, private sector problems and education problems that will not be solved immediately.

He said an indoctrination process is needed to seek and draw out qualified applicants with the right attitude, philosophy and breeding to complete an accurate representation of Bahamian hospitality and quality service provided in the tourism industry.

Mr. Rolle added that the past proves that problems need to be solved at the source to be cured, rather than solved at its symptom and to have constant administering to resolve issues that arise. He said the major challenge of governance is ensuring balanced development.

“As Sandy [Robert Sands] pointed it out correctly that our heads are not in the sand. We understand there is a skills gap. We understand that more has to be done, but it’s not a single sector’s problem. It’s the government’s problem, it’s the private sector’s problem, it’s a problem with the education system, it’s a problem with the development system,” he said. Prime Minister Perry Christie recently announced that a national training initiative will soon be launched.

“Hopefully, that will begin to solve the problem,” said Minister Rolle.

“The problem will not be solved overnight. We have to have a plan to ensure that we know we’ve identified correctly what the issues are and we begin to address those issues at the root.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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