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Chaitoo: WTO accession, govt policy should be about the youth

The government has to create its policies based on the needs of the young generation, trade and investment consultant with Oxford Economics Ramesh Chaitoo said Tuesday, adding that accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) should go hand-in-hand with creating that kind of forward-looking policy.

Chaitoo, who spoke on the sidelines of a meeting to release a report on The Bahamas’ accession to the WTO, hosted by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC), said The Bahamas’ policy makers need to adopt the kind of thinking that will see the development of structural changes that free up the bottlenecks holding back growth of the Bahamian economy.

“You have a lot of young people, they are the ones you have to make policy for, not the ones who have been collecting rents in their businesses for a whole generation,” Chaitoo said.

He added that accession to the WTO could unlock growth, but lamented that there has been hesitation on the part of some business people to accept the idea of WTO accession.

But he added that there have been some businesses people he has consulted with who embrace what the WTO could do for their businesses in terms of trade.

“When you talk to people individually they seem to be more realistic and more rational about WTO accession,” he said.

“And when you read the stuff in the press it sounds as if they are totally scared that this thing is going to kill them and it is a Godzilla. So I think somewhere in between there is a more sensible line.

“We had a meeting last November and there were a couple of guys interested in external markets, they definitely were interested in WTO accession. The ones who see this economy as their own pie, they don’t want accession.”

Chaitoo said The Bahamas’ economy has not grown significantly in the past eight to ten years. He explained that it is time for the country to do things differently.

He said the policy changes that will make the ease of doing business far better than it is today, and the policy changes that will benefit the young people who will lead the country in the future, are the best hope for the Bahamian economy. Those things, he added, should go hand-in-hand with WTO accession.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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