Beckles: More private sector layoffs imminent

Beckles: More private sector layoffs imminent
Jeffrey Beckles, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers' Confederation.

If measures are not taken to reduce the high cost of doing business, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Jeffery Beckles, predicts that more layoffs could take place in the private sector.

His comments follow the termination of 73 workers from Commonwealth Brewery earlier this week and additional layoffs in Grand Bahama of GBIC Digital employees.

“We have to work much more with a greater sense of urgency to look at every means at the cost of doing business,” Beckles said. “This raises the ante for us and we need to look at what else is impeding operations overall at all cost…  If we don’t we will see more reaction like this because completion is real.”

Beckles acknowledged that The Bahamas is an expensive jurisdiction to do business with many contributing factors.

“It is even more challenging now that the wheels are turning much slower and businesses are looking to streamline and cut costs,” he said. “None of us likes to talk about job losses but there are several lessons to be learned and right now for any business every penny counts.”

Beckles, however, applauded government for attempting to put measures in place to increase the country’s ranking for Ease of Doing Business.

“We all have a role to play and this continues to be a work in progress but we have to be aggressive in working together,” Beckles said.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said that the government will “respond aggressively” to recommendations made by the Ease of Doing Business Committee in an effort to address the global outlook on ease of doing business in The Bahamas.

The ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Committee was appointed in 2017 after a World Bank Annual Report listed The Bahamas as 119 out of 190 countries for ease of doing business.