Measures to improve Bahamas’ Ease of Doing Business ranking discussed at investment seminar

Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration, Brent Symonette.

The Bahamas’ global ease of doing business ranking could be on the rise as government has announced initiatives aimed at improving how business is conducted.

Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Investment, Brent Symonette said recently, that the areas currently under review are the business license process, the investor proposal process and various immigration processes, including work permits.

As globalization pushes countries to up their competitive edge, the minister said addressing these three priority areas is critical to The Bahamas’ viability in an ever-changing global market.

“While The Bahamas is recognized internationally as a mature, well-regulated and sophisticated international financial centre, with international financial institutions delivering a myriad of services including banking, private banking and trust service … there are real concerns about the ease of doing business in The Bahamas, which has the potential to erode our competitive advantage in these areas globally,” the minister said.

Symonette’s comments came as he delivered the opening remarks at the sixth annual Arbitration and Investment Seminar, held at the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre on January 29.

He said as globalization continues, The Bahamas has to meet the demands of the global community, including its perception of the country as a business centre and its expectations.

“We cannot be left behind as our regional neighbors make changes to the way they do business to position their countries globally,” he said. “Too much is at stake for the Bahamian people, particularly the youth of our country, the backbone of the future.”

The Bahamas is ranked 119 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings.

The banks’ statistics also show The Bahamas’ rank improved to 119 in 2017 from 121 in 2016. Ease of doing business in Bahamas averaged 92.20 from 2008 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 121 in 2016 and a record low of 59 in 2008, according to the bank.

The ease of doing business index by the World Bank ranks countries against each other based on how the regulatory environment is conducive to business operation. Economies with a high rank (1 to 20) have simpler and more friendly regulations for businesses.