Bahamas Engineers, Architects and Allied Professionals (BEAAP) is preparing to meet with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) to see how professionals in the construction sector can be a part of the government’s processes in relation to bringing foreign investment projects to the country, BEAAP Secretary Marcus Laing said yesterday.
Laing, who was speaking at a press conference at The Counsellors Limited to officially announce this year’s Bahamas Business Outlook, said BEAAP executives have already met with many of the decision-makers in government who walk foreign investors through the process of bringing their business ideas to fruition in this country. He explained that this second meeting is to flesh out how BEAAP and others in the construction sector can also be a part of the process so as to not miss out on the opportunity of securing business for local firms.
Laing said construction is the biggest indicator of how the economy is doing, but lamented that much of the big ticket construction business in The Bahamas has always been foreign-directed.
BEAAP has said before that it wants to stamp out the practice of industry professionals simply acting as frontmen for foreign firms that come in and carry out all the work.
“A lot of it is enforcement of laws that do exist already, and getting ahead of projects as they come in so that local architects, engineers, surveyors and other professionals can actually get in and get the work at an equitable level,” Laing said.
He added that the Bahamian economy is deprived of hundreds of millions of dollars through this kind of leakage.
Laing said BEAAP wants to see government make it mandatory for foreign investors to contract Bahamian firms for some of their work, though they understand that some specialty firms that do specialty work will inevitably have to be hired. “They see it as a very important point,” they said.
Laing is expected to speak on this topic at the Bahamas Business Outlook next Thursday at Baha Mar.