Symonette reveals new ease of business initiatives

Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration, the Hon Brent Symonette.

A price hike is pending for foreigners wanting to apply for permanent residency.

Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration, the Hon Brent Symonette, announced at the 15th Annual International Business and Finance Summit yesterday, that foreigners will now have to pay an additional $250,000 to The Bahamas government for homes, which takes effect on July 1 of this year.

According to Symonette, the increase is just one of many ways the Bahamas government is implementing to facilitate various immigration reforms including the process for short-term work permits and the ease of doing business in the country.

“Our progress thus far has consisted of new legislation and legislative amendments that affect various industries including financial services, immigration, trade and commercial enterprise, as well as, the implementation of appropriate structural and macroeconomic policies, which are being designed to improve economic efficiency and to create conditions conducive for integration into the world economy,” he said.

A relaxed exchange control is also in the works according to Symonette who said both his ministry and the Central Bank of The Bahamas are working in tandem to ensure businesses in the community have access to finances across the board.

He said, “We believe that this relaxation will attract foreign direct investment and allow Bahamians and foreigners to move goods and products more freely and efficiently.”

While financial services have the potential to be ‘innovative and creative’, Symonette explained that if it is difficult for business persons and professionals to facilitate then then their progress and development will be hindered.

“If trade and industry is not being constantly developed and new avenues for this to grow are not explored and implemented, trade in financial services and adjunct businesses that are created as a result, will have no room to thrive,” he said. “The reason I am highlighting these areas, is because they have long been impediments to our continued success in financial services. Today, I can say, we have gained some ground on removing these impediments.”

Some of the initiatives being enacted to assist with the ease of doing business include the Commercial Enterprise Act, which is aimed at making it easier for persons investing in specialized areas such as arbitration, technology, call centres, international & maritime trade; Human Capital Development and exploring the Asset Management, Global FX pricing and liquidity, and Fintech.

“The Bahamas is known for its long history and knowledge in the wealth management space,” said Symonette. “In the next phase of our transformation, we must expand this space.”