Govt Hopes To Cut Business Start-Up Process To Under Seven Days


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said his government is hoping to cut the process of starting a business down to less than five to seven days by creating a “one-stop shop” that will carry out the processes required to have a properly licensed business.

While Turnquest could not give an exact timeline of when a small business act might be brought into force and these legislative changes made, he said that at the end of the budget debate, the government will begin lining up its legislative agenda, which will include increasing the ease of doing business.

The Bahamas has traditionally been ranked poorly in terms of the ease of doing business, falling far behind many other countries in the region. Successive governments have promised to make the necessary changes to improve the process.

“When you’re a small business person every step is important; efficiency is important because it translates to cost,” said Turnquest. “We’re all about trying to increase the ease of doing business.”

He said he wants to move The Bahamas to the top 50 percent of countries with the greatest ease of doing business within the next two years, but he admitted the timeline was aggressive.

“It is aggressive, but if you don’t set aggressive targets you’ll never get there,” he said.

The Free National Movement government has made a commitment to creating a culture of entrepreneurship, which significantly helps to grow economies.

Business consultant Mark Turnquest recently urged the new government to bring to force, through legislation, an act that will help to develop entrepreneurship throughout the country, within the first 100 days of being in office.

“After reviewing the manifestos of all major political parties it is expressed and implied that the Bahamas SME Act will be legislated within five years (2017-2022) by the new government,” Turnquest said.

“It is also indicated that SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) development centers will be established sometime in the future.

“However, I stress that the Bahamas SME Act and SME development centers should be legislated and established within 100 days after the new parliamentary session has begun.”

Turnquest insisted that the SME Act has to be one of the first pieces of legislation to pass in the House of Assembly, as something of its kind is “overdue”.

“The entire country is suffering because of it not being enacted,’ he said.

“This is evident because we have a high national debt and deficit and a low economic growth forecast.

“In addition, there are so many economic downgrades by international financial watchdogs.”

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, speaking yesterday at a Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association meeting, said his government is determined to incentivize small businesses that enter the hospitality industry, insisting that the economy is not “diversified enough”.

Chester Robards,
The Nassau Guardian
Published: June 16, 2017