NASSAU, BAHAMAS — 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).
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis explained the move would alleviate government bureaucracy during a national address yesterday.
The ERC was appointed and charged Dr Minnis to provide actionable recommendations to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on The Bahamas.
The committee was co-chaired by Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson and financial services veteran Kenwood Kerr.
“This past Tuesday, the Committee presented to Cabinet their Executive Summary Report that details some 163 recommendations on a range of subject areas to spur our economic recovery and our sustained economic health. The ERC and its sub-committees consulted with 60 companies and organizations and had the benefit of 300 submissions sent to it from Bahamians across the entire country,” said Minnis.
“I wish to say thank you to the members of the ERC and its subcommittees – and to all contributors – for providing the government with dozens of insightful, thoughtful, and progressive ideas to move our Bahamas forward. The committee certainly took to heart my admonishment to be bold and innovative. Their recommendations reflect well-considered and well- researched concepts that will guide discussions of policy development in the country for many years to come.”
According to Minnis, some of the areas covered in the report of the ERC include ideas around the establishment of independently managed national funds that can better mobilize private and public sector resources to fuel the rapid, inclusive, and sustained development of all islands of The Bahamas.
Other recommendations included: a call for a targeted and focused increase in the contribution of agriculture and fisheries as a share of the country’s economic output or GDP in order to move steadily toward greater food security; an increase in the resources available for Bahamian entrepreneurs and small businesses, including the establishment of a national digital marketplace and the creation of small business incubators; and an acceleration of reforms in the energy sector to make solar and other renewable energy solutions more quickly deployed across The Bahamas.
Minnis continued: “The recommendations also offered ideas related to the economic revitalization of Grand Bahama and the Family Islands, a greater focus on the Orange or Creative Economy, as well as reforms related to education and labor, among many other areas.
“The thinking that informed The Bahamas in its pre-COVID days will not be well suited for The Bahamas that emerges from the pandemic. In many respects, the status-quo will need to be set aside.”
Minnis said Cabinet is presently reviewing the full report, which will be made public.
Back in August, it was announced that Cabinet had approved the ERC’s recommendation for the introduction of The Bahamas Extended Stay Visa Programme for persons wishing to work or study from The Bahamas for a year.