Improving The Ease of Doing Business
How are we doing it?
Making it easier to do business in The Bahamas has been identified as a Government priority by Prime Minister Dr. The Most Hon. Hubert Minnis.
Having recognized the importance of improving the business climate in the country, Prime Minister Minnis charged the Ministry of Finance to spearhead an inter-agency working group to:
1) improve The Bahamas' performance on the World Bank’s Doing Business Index; and
2) identify ways to improve processes which may not directly impact the country's performance on the index, but ultimately makes it easier to do business in the country.
The Working Group is comprised of The Central Bank, Securities Commission, Ministry of Works - Building Control and Physical Planning, Department of Inland Revenue, Department of the Registrar General, Department of Information Technology and Bahamas Customs Department.
To date, The Working Group has managed to deliver the following results:
1) Delivered a 48 Hour Business License renewal turn-around time;
2) Amended the Business License Act to allow for the granting of provisional licenses to low risk businesses and automatic renewals;
3) Merged the process of applying for an National Insurance number with a Business License application;
4) Identified & Licensed a Credit Bureau Operator;
5) Significantly enhanced protective measures made available to minority investors through legislative amendments;
6) Reduced the number of procedures legally required to start a business by making the use of a company seal optional;
7) Introduced digital 'instrument data form' for registering property deeds, thus improving overall efficiency; and
8) Introduced online building permit applications
9) Introduced Click 2 Clear single window for importing goods
10) Introduced Online NIB contribution payments
So, what's next ?
To remain globally competitive, The Bahamas must continue to work feverishly to improve its business climate on an ongoing basis . Having recognized this, the team has identified a number of key reforms to be implemented over the next few years. These reforms have a direct impact on the country's performance on the World Bank's Doing Business Index.
They include the following:
1) The creation of a moveable asset collateral registry;
2) A fully functioning electronic plan processing system for building permit applications;
3) A modern Insolvency Legal Framework
4) The execution of court automation/electronic case management initiatives
5) A single window for company incorporation & business registration
6) Property Registration/Transfer Modernisation (e.g. digital land title certificates, electronic database for encumbrances etc.)