Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson said yesterday that the Ministry of Finance’s internal metrics have shown there has been an improvement in the ease of doing business, despite complaints to the contrary.
Johnson was contacted for comment after Leigh Rodney, the owner of Compass Point resort, took out a full-page ad in The Tribune lamenting the business environment and criticizing the Free National Movement for failing to live up to its promise of making “it easier to run a business in The Bahamas”.
“The Ministry of Finance has been tasked specifically with things surrounding opening and operating a business in The Bahamas in terms of the time of opening a business, which has been reduced substantially through a single web portal; and the recent coming into force of provisional licenses, so that while small businesses are waiting for their regulatory process, they can also apply to obtain a provisional business license,” Johnson said yesterday.
“The new business license renewal process, the renewal time has dropped from an average of a few weeks down to an average of two or three business days. Quite a bit has been done in that space for registering businesses, renewing business licenses and getting people into business,” he added.
One of Rodney’s issues involved the hotel and business licensing processes, according to Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar.
In June, National Ease of Doing Business Committee Chair Lynn Holowesko said the committee was disappointed that the government had not enacted more of its recommendations.
“The committee works independently of the ministry and they have submitted their recommendations to the ministry. The ministry has taken them onboard and presented them to the policy makers and some of the recommendations have already been put into effect, and some we continue to work on with the committee,” Johnson said.
“One of the things the committee had recommended was around estate planning… Another thing is the access to credit through the Small Business Development Centre.”
The World Bank is expected to release its Ease of Doing Business score for The Bahamas in October.
Johnson said with these improvements The Bahamas should score higher than last year’s score of 118.