Chamber document calls for ICT infrastructure to be top priority

A position statement on the country’s digital economy, created by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation’s (BCCEC) Digital Transformation Committee, calls for internet communications and telecommunications (ICT) infrastructure, digital services and digital inclusion to be treated as strategic priorities for The Bahamas, contending the chamber will advocate for this to become reality, along with several other priority points concerning digital regulation.

The BCCEC’s position statement on The Bahamas’ digital economy, which is the framework through which it supports the sector’s regulatory environments, was released late-Tuesday.

“Feedback on regulatory digital policies will be provided to the government from the perspective of the private sector and the role that enterprise plays in the development of the digital economy of The Bahamas,” the statement noted.

“Regulations must drive and facilitate growth of the private sector and new companies in the digital economy.

“The public interest will also be considered as part of a framework to fully realize the contribution of the private sector and the benefits of digital transformation to consumers and to society.”

The BCCEC said while advocating for digital inclusion to be treated as strategic priority, it will also push for clearly defined objectives of digital policy; assessment of the impact of that policy; the identification of risks associated with the policy’s implementation; relevant education and training resources; the spurring of entrepreneurship in the digital economy; encouragement of innovation and the encouragement of innovative foreign direct investment.

“The digital economy should be a fair and equitable environment, enabled by payment infrastructure that makes online digital payment transactions equally accessible to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) without burdensome costs or implementation challenges,” the BCCEC stated.

“The BCCEC supports less complex and less expensive infrastructure that protects consumer data and will support the adoption of and access to digital services offered by the private sector, with an emphasis on SMEs and MSMEs.”

The chamber said it, along with the Small Business Development Centre, will encourage competition and digital market reach for SMEs and MSMEs in the Family Islands, given that the digital environment “reduces or removes the borders to trade”.

It added that the implementation of international standards will be of paramount importance for local digital services and will ensure relevancy of the sector and stoke buy-in.

The BCCEC also called for the increased protection of intellectual property and consumer data.

“The virtual, borderless nature of its commercial activities frequently are based on the creativity of service providers who provide value through their intellectual property,” the statement noted.

“The protection of the intellectual property of Bahamian companies is paramount to grow the local digital economy and encourage cross-border trade. The prosecution of those who violate these protections should be enforced.

“Consumer data protection should take a customized approach according to the industry and depend on what is needed for that industry to operate efficiently and to realize the benefits of digital transformation for its consumers.

“The BCCEC will support the advancement of a national cybersecurity framework throughout the private and public sector in The Bahamas and the prosecution of those who violate these protection policies.”

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Chester Robards

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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