NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Most businesses in the country operate either close to or outside of the country’s employment regulations, according to one local business executive, who noted that the Employment Act is often taken for granted.
Jeffrey Beckles, managing director of the Island Pay Group and former CEO of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation spoke at the Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre inaugural business forum.
He noted that SMEs must be mindful of VAT filing obligations, filing annual returns, and managing within the rules of the country’s labour laws.
“The Employment Act, we take it for granted,” Beckles said.
“Most businesses operate in The Bahamas either operate close to outside or outside of the employment regulations. Get to understand what the Employment Act says, which is critical for you. Also, Understand your banking requirement. Understand the relationship between you and your bank, what it can provide and can’t provide.”
He stressed that regulations are necessary for the small business sector, adding that before small businesses invest or borrow for their businesses, it is critical that they understand the regulations governing their sector and lobby for their interests.
“It is critical that small businesses understand what are regulatory requirements. Far too many entrepreneurs get into business and don’t understand the regulatory requirements. They invest money, have great ideas, hire great talent but don’t know what regulations govern their business,” said Beckles.
“Before you invest or borrow a single dollar, make sure that you investigate and understand the regulations covering your sector,” said Beckles.
Beckles also noted that many Bahamian businesses lack insurance which was made evident in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. “Post Dorian we found out that more than 75 percent of the business didn’t have insurance,” said Beckles.