Bahamas Government Addressing Investor Concerns About Long Waits

Prime Minister, Dr Hubert Minnis (third left) heading to the National Conclave of Chambers of Commerce. (Photo Credit: OPM Media Services)

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Friday June 22, 2017 – The Bahamas Government will introduce a “Decision Timeline” that will inform applicants and investors when they should receive a response on a given matter.

Prime Minister, Dr Hubert Minnis said 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 on various applications and proposals.

He 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.

“This should help with the ease of doing business for potential investors,” Dr Minnis said.

He said some foreign investors have left the country, fed up at the time it had taken 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,” lamented the Prime Minister whose Free National Movement came into office after winning general elections last month.

He said slow response times from the Department of Immigration had 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.

The Prime Minister said the business licence process will also be shortened.

“The inertia in the process must be removed,” he insisted.

Dr 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.”

He said his administration would 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 questioned. “We will review this process.”

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