NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A former investments minister said the government must find a way to “unclog the system” and speed up investment approvals, telling Eyewitness News the government must be more “nimble” to avoid losing investor confidence.
Khaalis Rolle, who served as Minister of State for Investment under the last Christie administration said The Bahamas cannot afford to lose a single foreign direct investment project given the government’s fiscal constraints and need for economic stimulus.
“Government has to be nimble in approving investment applications, permits and moving things through the system,” he said.
“Otherwise you are going to begin to lose investor confidence.
“The process isn’t going the way it should.
“The applications are still getting clogged up through various agencies.
“The Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) has done an excellent job. They are very responsive.
“I don’t get a lot of complaints from other investors about them, but with the other agencies I get calls from investors all the time because they know I was involved in that process and know the pitfalls.”
He added: “We can’t afford to lose one foreign direct investment project. The government just doesn’t have the capacity to continue to borrow.
“We just need to find a better way of unclogging the system. It has to be a genuine effort.
“Everyone’s livelihood is at stake, not only the private sector, but those in government as well.
“If the economy crashes it impacts everyone, everyone suffers. We need to get it into everyone’s head that it can’t be business as usual.”
During a national address earlier this week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said a full revamp of the country’s investment regime to speed up approvals and business expansion is among the 163 recommendations submitted by the government-appointed Economic Recovery Committee (ERC).
Minnis explained the move would alleviate government bureaucracy.