Govt. to remove National Economic Council approval for investments under $10 million threshold

Govt. to remove National Economic Council approval for investments under $10 million threshold
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced yesterday government will restructure decision making on foreign direct investment  (FDI) applications so that those under a $10 million threshold will not have to be submitted to the National Economic Council (NEC).

This, he said was consistent with a recommendation from the government-appointed Economic Recovery Committee (ERC). In its executive summary released yesterday, the ERC recommended that the role of the NEC be revised and limited to only the largest or most complex projects.

“At a minimum, the ERC proposes that projects valued under $20 million should be processed under established standard operating procedures,” it read.

“The NEC should be restructured to be comprised of public and private representatives and stakeholders.”

During an address in Parliament yesterday, Dr Minnis said: “Consistent with the recommendations of the ERC, we will expedite the processing of the Bahamian and Foreign direct investments currently before the Government. We will restructure decision-making on foreign direct investment applications so that applications under a $10 million threshold would not be required to be submitted to the National Economic Council.

“Further, we will expand our National Investment Policy. Some members of the ERC Committee are currently working on specific suggestions in this area which will be presented to the Government next month.”

Dr Minnis added: “We will review and expedite every serious job-creation ideas that will spur growth and economic activity.”

The ERC has also recommended that the role of the Bahamas Investment Authority be amended with the entity serving as solely as a promotional arm of Invest Bahamas – promoting The Bahamas as a country “open for business” to receive and facilitate investments.

It has also recommended enhanced inter-agency coordination.

The ERC also recommended that the government consider and make a determination on all existing applications for building permits and other regulatory requirements within the next 20 days to speed up construction projects.

“Make use of outsourced agents to facilitate approvals if necessary. Accelerate and expedite approvals of all Bahamian and International projects under consideration by the Government. Catalog the status of all projects in the pipeline and seek to facilitate approvals within 30 days, with the help of outsourced evaluations if necessary.”