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Bahamas ranked 76 in 2019 Index of Economic Freedom

The Bahamas scored 62.9 on conservative U.S. think tank The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, making it number 76 among 180 countries ranked on the list, which places this country in the category of “moderately free”.

The foundation’s website explains that The Bahamas’ overall score decreased by 0.4 points, “with declines in scores for government integrity and judicial effectiveness outpacing increases in fiscal health and investment freedom”.

According to the website, The Bahamas is ranked number 15 out of 32 countries ranked in the Americas region. It adds that this country’s overall score is above both the regional and world averages.

Under the category of “rule of law”, The Bahamas declined in the areas of property rights, government integrity and judicial effectiveness. Under the category of “regulatory efficiency” there was a decline in monetary freedom. Under the section on “open markets”, there was a decline in trade freedom.

In the index’s general breakdown of the country it writes: “The government’s top priority is reducing the fiscal deficit. To stimulate the economy, it has simplified business licensing, procurement and business-related immigration. It also has taken new steps to foster development of small and medium-size enterprises and encourage local investment.

“Private-sector growth has been constrained by weak rule of law, lingering protectionism, heavy subsidies to state-owned enterprises and a bloated and slow-moving bureaucracy. Nevertheless, the overall regulatory system is conducive to entrepreneurial activity and there are no individual or corporate income taxes.”

The index also points out the The Bahamas is seeking accession to the World Trade Organization and is continuing its debate on “how to replace the tariff revenues that could decline with WTO membership”.

In terms of the declines pointed out in the index, it explains that with regard to the country’s rule of law, property registration has been made easier, though difficulties remain; the judicial process is inefficient, leading to delayed trials; retaliatory crimes against witnesses and perpetrators have increased; and money laundering and corruption exist at all levels of government.

The index points out that The Bahamas has made business license and value-added tax registration easier, but laments that existing labor codes are not enforced, and state-owned enterprises like Bahamasair “continue to be a drag on government finances”.

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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