NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday that based on the recommendations of the economic recovery committee the government is preparing a strategy to fast-track approvals for all viable private sector construction projects under consideration.
During an address yesterday Dr Minnis also noted that the government will review the current licensing and regulatory procedures for street vendors with the intention of enabling them to sell their products in safe and secure venues.
Minnis who noted that it is essential to open the domestic economy as soon as possible said, “Based on the ERC’s recommendations we are preparing a strategy to approve all pending viable private sector and construction projects that are currently under consideration, and to fast track those approvals. The approval and execution of these projects will generate immediate employment and business opportunities for Bahamian contractors and trade professionals.”
He further noted that the Government is accelerating the execution of the budgeted public infrastructure and construction projects, and will pay special attention to the smaller scale projects that benefit multiple smaller contractors.
This he said will allow for increased employment in many vulnerable segments of the economy and benefit a number of small Bahamian firms.
“The Government is also looking at ways to provide special support for the creative community, and further support for Bahamian small businesses and entrepreneurs to provide them with the resources and expertise to be able to showcase and deliver their products to the world,” said Minnis.
Minnis noted that the Economic Recovery Committee established to provide advice and recommendations to position the country to emerge from the current economic crisis will deliver its full report in September as planned.
“Even as the ERC is working through its final report, it has provided to my office several interim recommendations and considerations to help focus on the immediate situation. It is essential to reopen the domestic economy as soon as possible, with the reopening of the external economy to follow as soon as feasible given the economic conditions overseas. We are seeking to ensure that reopening is subject to established COVID-19 protocols. The government agencies and private sector stakeholders must commit to greater adherence and compliance to established safety standards,” said Minnis.
While a number of street vendors have found themselves before the courts for violating lockdown orders, Minnis noted that they plan an important role in the economy.
“Accordingly, we will be offering a way for enterprising Bahamians to be able to sell their products on the streets of their respective islands, and to be able to
do so in a safe and sustained manner. The government will review the current
licensing and regulatory procedures for street vendors. Our intention is to enable street vendors to be able to sell their products in safe and secure venues. We want them to be able to do so in a way that does not pose undue dangers to themselves, pedestrians or the motoring public,’ said Minnis.
He added, “We will put in place the standards that ensure that they are able to meet health code requirements and thus not pose any health risk related to COVID-19 or otherwise. The vendors will be trained in these standards as a requirement of their license. We will make available additional funding to the Small Business Development Center for business loans or grants for these street vendors that will allow them to adjust to the current circumstances and to support their business start-ups or expansion.
We must get our tourism sector up and running, as safely and as rapidly as possible. Thus far, there is no other economic sector as prepared to deliver the range of employment and the depth of tax revenues with great immediacy, like tourism. Our task now is to restore our confidence in ourselves by shutting down community spread and flattening the COVID-19 curve of transmissions and infections once again, over the next several weeks.”