Categorized | Featured, National News



Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis last night expressed that the country must expand more and increase efforts to secure the middle class and to move more Bahamians out of poverty.

The Prime Minister gave the first of a series of three national reports last night covering economic growth, job creation, and greater opportunities for Bahamians.

He  said  while the country  is making economic progress and the economy is growing, there is still much work to do to boost jobs, especially among young Bahamians .

Dr. Minnis said, “ economic  growth must  be inclusive and must be bfelt across the country for all Bahamians.”

For the current fiscal year, the Prime Minister noted that government vowed support in $5.5 million for loans, grants and equity injections into Bahamian small businesses. 

In collaboration with private sector partners, some $7 million will be funded directly to Bahamian entrepreneurs and small businesses.

 Dr. Minnis said that $450,000 will be spent to provide grants to young underprivileged Bahamians from throughout the country, from poor neighborhoods and poor families – to support their business aspirations. 

Through the Small Business Development Center, he indicated that seven companies have been approved for funding to either begin or to expand their businesses for a collective total of $1.5 million, with more credit to be extended. 

He said, “once these small businesses are provided with capital, they can contribute to the fabric of the economy by providing new businesses by Bahamian entrepreneurs and jobs for Bahamians. The government has also committed to enhanced training for aspiring entrepreneurs through the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) and the University of The Bahamas (UB).”

The ‘Be Your Own Boss’ (BYOB) Scholarship, he noted, offers $1,000 in tuition support to students between the ages of 18 and 25, that “will enroll full time in preparatory, certificate, diploma and associate degree programs, which will train them with the necessary technical and vocational skills to start a business or secure employment”. 

He added, “equipping our students with these types of opportunities will create both jobs and products to help grow the economy. We anticipate expanding this initiative in the upcoming budget.” 

The Prime Minister also noted that the country’s growth and expansion agenda includes “a dynamic mix of Bahamians and foreign direct investment”.

In an effort to help new business startups, Dr. Minnis said that the Ministry of Finance  recently announced the roll out of a provisional business license implemented by the Department of Inland Revenue. 

This will allow those wishing to start a new low-risk business to do so in five days or less. 

Once granted the provisional license, which will be valid for 90 days, businesses will be allowed to be up and running, while they work to complete the full business license process by obtaining all the necessary documents for completion. 

The fee for starting a new business has also been waived, he said, and the application process has been consolidated through one application through the Department of Inland Revenue. 

He added,“this has made the process much easier for those wishing to launch a new business,” We will ensure that we continue to refine the process even more.” 

The Prime Minister said that he also pressed his ministers to address the unacceptable amount of time it takes for Bahamians and foreigners alike to open a bank account. 

He noted the importance of the ‘Know Your Customer’ Rules, however he said that it was just as important that Bahamians be able to go to a bank and open an account with little hassle, once they have the proper identification. 

He added, “instead of finding excuses as to why it cannot happen, I want the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, the commercial banks and the private sector to tell me how it will happen,” 

Since mid-2017, the Minnis Administration approved an estimated $3.7 billion of foreign investment projects.

Dr. Minnis added that many of these projects, once approved, will immediately contract Bahamian firms for legal, accounting, project management, engineering, environmental, architectural, consulting and other professional services.

He said, “the success in Foreign Direct Investment is due in part to the increase of Information Communication Technology enterprises and boutique financial services investments as companies look to make The Bahamas their regional

headquarters for the Caribbean.”

He added, “New Providence received 55 percent of the inward flows of Foreign Direct Investment since 2017. This includes: the approval of a number financial services companies, and a number of back office administrative firms approved including Baptist Health International Services, CITGO Petroleum; and the Disargo Group of Companies.”

Dr. Minnis said to increase Bahamian and international partnerships and foreign direct investment, the government will restructure the Bahamas Investment Authority by establishing a promotional arm .

This promotional arm, he said, will be critical for economic expansion and growth. 

He added that it will facilitate investment promotion tours with participation of both private and public stakeholders. 

In the coming weeks, the Prime Minister said that he plans to release two more reports. 

The second will social issues like crime fighting, healthcare, education, housing, and home ownership. 

The third will cover environment and climate change, energy reform, and land reform.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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