MOF aims to transform financial services sector, says Symonette

MOF aims to transform financial services sector, says Symonette
Brent Symonette, Minister of Finance, Trade & Immigration.

The Free National Movement (FNM) government will allocate additional resources to facilitate the transformation of the financial services sector with the specific aim of improving the ease of doing business in this jurisdiction.

During the recent tabling of the 2018/2019 Budget, which was passed by the House of Assembly Tuesday, Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette detailed plans to accelerate the pace of human capital development and improving the ease of doing business.

Both initiatives, he said, will facilitate a deliberate economic transformation towards a sustainable economy.

“We must first be proactive in investing in human capital, through education and diversity, to achieve service quality that is second to none,” Symonette told International Investment yesterday.

Symonette stated that “by improving our talent pool, we will ultimately increase efficiencies in the ‘ease of doing business’ in The Bahamas.”

“The establishment of a ‘Centre for Excellence’ for professional skills development in financial services in the region is a priority.

“Through a grant from the European Union (EU), facilitated by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), a roadmap was developed to enable us to demonstrate our commitment to educating and equipping our financial services workforce to meet and maintain quality standards in the provision of financial services through the Centre for Excellence.”

Symonette said his ministry also intends to work with the University of the Bahamas (UB) to integrate into its business program, opportunities for research and internships, while working with the Ministry of Education to strengthen financial services education at the tertiary level.

“We must realize that although we are an Independent and sovereign nation, we exist in an interdependent, and integrated ever-changing global economy,” he shared.

“This means that we must embrace and adapt to change. This is the only way we will be able to create opportunities for ourselves.”

According to Symonette, The Bahamas must be innovative in its services and products offering, while also putting in the framework for policy and innovation that will foster flexibility for the creation of new products and services, as well as investment in new areas of financial services.

The minister contended that The Bahamas’ brand has to become a label of quality, creativity, innovation and technological advancement.

“We live in a knowledge-based era, where these things are the keys to future advancement,” he said.

“We must develop a financial services technology and innovation scheme where research centers and innovation libraries can be bred for user experience, data science, and machine learning.

“This is where technological advancement is. It is happening now and we have to embrace it.”

Symonette affirmed that the ease of doing business touches across the whole Bahamian economy but, is of particular importance to the financial services sector.

“There has been a lot of talk surrounding this issue, but the goal of eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic protocols and practices in our administration for daily business operations, is coming to fruition,” he said.

“Already, we are seeing greater communication between departments, where the provision of information between agencies is being streamlined. This has enabled most of the transactions for obtaining a business license to occur in one place.”