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Chamber of commerce applauds government on energy reform

The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) yesterday applauded the government for its efforts to bring down the cost of electricity, while announcing that it plans to do its part towards this end.

Edison Sumner, CEO of the BCCEC, said that the business coalition will be reviewing the scope of the requests for proposal (RFPs) soon to be issued by the government, which will seek private partners to take over all aspects of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) functions, with the intention of providing feedback on behalf of its members.

“Traditionally energy has been a major cost to doing business in the country, in some cases we find some businesses may be spending as much as 20 percent of their revenue back to BEC, so we are anxious to review the RFP and to assist the government in making policy decisions as it relates to cost of energy.”

Sumner noted that high energy and labor costs have also been two of the major deterrents to foreign investment in The Bahamas.

“From the chamber’s perspective we have been trying to deal with labor and productivity, through training at the institute, so we’ve been trying to address one of those issues. The second aspect is of tremendous concern to us as a business community and we’re taking initiatives on that as well.”

Sumner said the BCCEC intends to host an energy conference in the fall which will involve discussion and presentations on solutions to high energy costs.

“The government can’t do it all. They’ve got their resources and we will push them as far as possible to ensure what they committed to gets done, but the private sector is a major driver of the economy so what happens in the private sector is important.

“While we applaud the government for bringing costs under control and improving that service, the private sector can still find its own ways and make recommendations to the government,” said Sumner.

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