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Govt should appoint ease of doing business czar

The Bahamas must appoint an ease of doing business czar, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Chester Cooper said yesterday, after it was revealed that the country’s ease of doing business score fell by one mark in a recent report.

Cooper, who is also the shadow minister for finance, explained that the government must act to stop the deterioration of The Bahamas’ ease of doing business score, noting that the country fell down in the area of access to capital.

Cooper suggested that government invest millions more than the $5 million per year promised to the Access Accelerator/Small Business Development Center.

“While the PLP fully supports the Small Business Development Center, we maintain that it is seriously underfunded,” he said in a statement.

“The current funding of $5 million has proven to be inadequate.

“I suggest innovative funding of $50 million a year to jump start economic growth, particularly in the aftermath of setbacks of Hurricane Dorian.”

Cooper also noted that other countries in the region have succeeded in climbing the index, improving their score by implementing meaningful reforms.

“In the global marketplace, The Bahamas must stand out as being open for business and ready to work with local and international partners,” he said.

“The Minnis administration talks a good game on business reform, but independent assessments tell the true tale. It has become apparent that the time for talk alone has passed. Action should be the order of the day.

“To that effect, the government should immediately appoint an ease of doing business czar whose sole focus is to drill down into the categories where we slid or where there is an obvious need to improve, and formulate policies and legislation to address it, which can be implemented in the next six to nine months.”

Cooper suggested that in order to make meaningful changes to the ease of doing business, government has to follow the country’s National Development Plan’s ease of doing business framework, engage the private sector, and resist the urge to skirt progressive changes simply to protect the public sector from the negative effects of those changes.

“…Where obstacles to doing business exist, they should be altogether removed, not navigated around so as not to offend an archaic public sector mode of operation,” he said.

“To that end, a proper committee of broad expertise from the private sector should be appointed to help the ease of doing business czar.

“Stacking the committee with special interests will only serve to make doing business in the sectors they control easier. Everyone should be able to do business with more ease, not just the select few.”

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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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