Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest said that while The Bahamas ranks high as a well-regulated jurisdiction, it has to improve the ease of doing business in the country for both domestic and international entities if it wants to remain competitive.
His comments were made at the International Business Finance Summit presented by the Bahamas Financial Services Board at Baha Mar yesterday. Turnquest said the push to exceed current practices is a part of The Bahamas Government’s mandate to make the work permit as well as investment processes easy.
“We have a committee of independent private sector individuals who are tasked with identifying the bottlenecks in our system and coming up with the required administrative and legislative changes that are necessary to ensure that we are living up to our desire to be first world in terms of the services that we provide and responsive to our customers going forward,” he said.
For Turnquest, blockchain technology may be the most viable way forward to help leverage the country’s jurisdiction lure by making the entire process of on-boarding clients simple.
“For instance, we are looking at the possibility of setting up a digital record block chain such that persons can do their Know Your Customers (KYC) documentation in their own countries,” he explained, “get it authenticated digitally and when they come to The Bahamas, it is just a matter of giving somebody a key in which they can log in and receive authenticated verification of all of the KYC and all of the due diligence requirements in seconds. A process that can take six to eight months can be done in 15 minutes.”
Turnquest said a task force is being put together by the government to determine how to develop the idea and that it is their hope that the idea becomes a reality soon.
“The more efficient and responsive we are, the better our chances in this very competitive global world we are now faced with all of its complexities and challenges,” he said. ““We have had discussions with several providers of this kind of technology and we continue to make this a priority so we can get this kind of technology in place in the shortest period of time possible.”
With the government “deliberately intent” on utilising available technology to improve government services and efficiency, Turnquest said feedback and input from financial services leaders and providers on the potential application of blockchain technology is both essential and necessary.