Prime Minister Minnis: The Bahamas must make far-reaching structural changes to economy

In the aftermath of COVID-19 and Hurricane Dorian, The Bahamas must embark on broad, deep and far-reaching structural changes to the economy and the way The Bahamas does business at home and abroad, said Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis.

The Prime Minister was speaking from the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday 20 May at the Ministry of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration’s Virtual Symposium.

Prime Minister Minnis said an example of structural change is the mandatory full digitization of The Bahamas at every level.

“Many of the bureaucratic roadblocks to the ease of doing business must be bulldozed,” said the Prime Minister.

“We must streamline the process for domestic and foreign investment in a broader range of industries.”

Prime Minister Minnis said The Bahamas is now in one of the most challenging periods ever in its history, pre- or post-independence.

As part of the response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Prime Minister has appointed an Economic Recovery Committee (ERC).

The Committee has been charged with delivering “a position on the current state of the economy, inclusive of immediate fixes and mitigation initiatives.”

Over time, the Committee will present a bold vision for a modern Bahamian economy that is resilient, dynamic, inclusive and sustainable, said the Prime Minister.

The ERC’s scope includes, restoring the macro-economy as quickly as possible; ensuring the maintenance of a sound and sustainable monetary, fiscal and taxation policy framework; and creating a globally competitive business environment.

One of the 10 subcommittees of the ERC is financial services.

This subcommittee has been asked to recommend a policy agenda to reposition the financial services sector for sustainability and growth.

“I assure industry stakeholders that financial services is one of the primary areas of concern for the ERC as we work to build a resilient, dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable Bahamas economy,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

“As the financial services industry evolves, my Government will work to help the sector in its ongoing evolution.”

The Prime Minister said this includes “continuing improvements in the ease of doing business; prioritizing a responsive legislative and regulatory agenda; and protecting the reputation of this jurisdiction, even as we are faced with various current challenges.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest; Attorney General, the Hon. Carl Bethel; and Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration, the Hon. Elsworth Johnson also addressed Wednesday’s virtual symposium.