The Ministry of Finance will continue to focus on improving the ease of doing business (EODB) and cost of doing business (CODB) in The Bahamas, as well as entrepreneurship and revenue protection, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Finance Peter Turnquest told Guardian Business yesterday.
Turnquest added that the government will continue to focus on implementing the structural changes that will “give effect to the substantial presence and removal of preferences legislation”.
Last month the government tabled the Commercial Enterprises (Substance Requirements) Bill, 2018 in the House of Assembly, because earlier this year the European Union (EU) called for proof of more “economic substance” in international business companies (IBCs) registered in The Bahamas.
This came after The Bahamas ended up on a blacklist, which led to the awareness of the necessity for the country’s full compliance with the EU’s wishes, in the shortest time possible.
A move to place more pressure on IBCs to have more of a physical presence in this jurisdiction could also come with additional and more stringent accounting and tax reporting obligations, but Turnquest said back in April that, “if done right”, this posture by the EU could present an opportunity to attract more locally domiciled IBCs.
Turnquest said last month that the government’s ongoing initiatives to improve the ease of doing business in the country have paid dividends, as this country’s global ranking improved by one point this year, moving from 119 to 118 on a scale based on data from the World Bank.
The Bahamas’ new rating is based on a pool of 190 countries. According to Trading Economics, the creator of the scale and an online platform which provides financial information, The Bahamas’ ease of doing business rating averaged 94.55 between 2008 and this year, and reached a high of 121 in 2016. The country had a record low of 59 in 2008, when the world economy was entering a deep recession.
“There are other small improvements along the way, but more importantly we are excited about the technology improvements planned to create a single point of contact for all Ministry of Finance government services,” Turnquest said.
He could not say more on what the cost of doing business will look like in 2019, or what new plans the government has for entrepreneurship and revenue protection, as he did not want to preempt government’s business when it returns to the House of Assembly after the holidays.