The Government of The Bahamas will introduce a “Decision Timeline” that will inform applicants and investors when they should receive a response on a given matter, Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis said Wednesday. The move will address concerns by investors and other businesspersons regarding the long length of time it has taken to receive a response from the Government of The Bahamas on various applications and proposals in the past. Prime Minister Minnis said an Advanced Tracking System will also be put in place to identify the bottlenecks and roadblocks in the system. Relevant agencies will be monitored to see how well, or how poorly, they are meeting or missing their deadlines. The Prime Minister said the amalgamation of Immigration, Financial Services and Trade and Industry into one ministry was done for a reason. “This should help with the ease of doing business for potential investors,” Prime Minister Minnis said.

    Addressing the National Conclave of Chambers of Commerce In The Bahamas – hosted by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation, June 14, 2017 at Baha Mar resort – Prime Minister Minnis told the story of how a young Bahamian entrepreneur approached the previous Administration for Crown Land to develop a project “that would have put more money into the economy and employ a good number of Bahamians.” “After the last government ran him around for years, he had to end up buying the property and his foreign partner told him that he, the partner, believed more in him than his own government.”

    Prime Minister Minnis said, in the past, some foreign investors have left the country, fed up at the time it took various Cabinet Ministers or government offices to respond. “Because time is money, the amount of time it has taken The Bahamas to respond to various investors, has likely cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars at a minimum,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

    The Prime Minister said slow response times from the Department of Immigration in the past, has also left a sour taste in the mouths of investors. To combat this issue, Dr. Minnis has advised the Minister of Immigration, as a matter of urgency, to reduce the time it takes for an application or renewal to be processed to ensure more ready responses from the Department of Immigration. The Prime Minister said the business license process will also be shortened. “The business license process takes too long and must be shortened. The inertia in the process must be removed,” Prime Minister Minnis said. Prime Minister Minnis said his government believes that establishing a “One Stop Shop” for doing business with the Government is a practical solution. “We will be developing a ‘one window to government services’ strategy going forward. This will require government departments working across silos and utilizing appropriate technology within government departments to integrate systems and databases.”

    The Prime Minister said his Administration will also remove “unnecessary double approval regimes” which should also help to reduce long timelines.“After the Securities Commission approves certain licenses by a foreign entity or individual, why must BIA (Bahamas Investment Authority) have to give another approval?” Prime Minister Minnis asked. “We will review this process.” Prime Minister Minnis said his Administration is committed to instituting a reform and modernization agenda for The Bahamas. “Having been in business for many years, I understand the challenges. Let us work together to address these challenges as we embrace the many opportunities for economic growth and development.”


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