Too many restrictions in the way business is done locally, laments Symonette
Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette called on international financial institutions to challenge the government to amend the banking rules in order to make it easier for people to do business in The Bahamas.
Symonette, who addressed the Bahamas AML/CFT Conference on Monday, said there are too many restrictions in the way business is done in this country.
He explained that the government is set to introduce policy that will aid in Bahamians being able to invest in public assets, while allowing the government to divest itself of them. Symonette mentioned the hospital and airports as examples of government assets that Bahamians could consider investing in.
He also called for banks to ease credit in order to make it easier for Bahamians to do business.
Central Bank Governor John Rolle responded to Symonette’s call, explaining that banks consider economic factors when deciding on things such as commercial loans.
Rolle suggested that Bahamians take a closer look at the tourism sector and see how they can build businesses around it.
He said local banks purchased $500 million more in foreign currency this year than last year. He said while more dollars have come in, almost the same have been repatriated in outflows.
According to Rolle, entrepreneurs must develop more businesses in the tourism sector, which would allow more of the foreign currency inflows to stay in the country.
He suggested vacation home rentals as one of those features Bahamians have taken advantage of to bring in more tourist dollars, but he added that many vacation home rentals are also owned by foreigners, whose money is likely taken out of The Bahamas.
Rolle contended recreational businesses should be built around the tourism industry in order to satisfy part of the market that is missing.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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