Bahamas PM Outlines Plans to Reduce Unemployment

WASHINGTON, (CMC) | Bahamas Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis says his Government has undertaken a program of long-term economic growth in order to reduce unemployment and to move the country’s economy along a path of “more dynamic and sustainable growth”.

Speaking at a reception for Bahamians and Friends of The Bahamas here over the weekend, Minnis said his recently elected government’s programme of reform and transformation includes innovative thinking about the role of government “as we create new and innovative partnerships for national development.

“We are stabilizing public finances and reforming government. We are ensuring the greater ease of doing business for Bahamians and foreign investors,” Prime Minister Minnis told the ceremony on Saturday night.

“The Bahamas has a highly favourable investment regime. We are cutting the red tape and too-often-long, waiting times for international investment projects to be vetted and approved.”

Minnis, who is paying his first visit to the United States since his Free National Movement (FNM) won the May 10 general election, said his Government will “early next year” announce a number of “exciting investment prospects” for the country.

He said also the Bahamas will launch targeted investment and trade missions to various geographic regions “in due course,” adding “there is a new Bahamas emerging. I invite you to be a part of the transformation that will help to make the Islands of The Bahamas a more dynamic and vibrant country”.

During his address, Prime Minnis again defended the recently passed Commercial Enterprise Bill (CEB) which he said will h elp to liberalize the Bahamian economy. The Bill was passed in the House of Assembly on November 22, 2017 and in the Senate on December 4, 2017. But it has been widely criticised by the opposition and some sections of the private sector that fear it could lead to preference treatment for foreign investors. But Minnis urged Bahamians throughout the Diaspora, and individuals of Bahamian heritage who are not Bahamian citizens but have family ties to The Bahamas, to utilize the new CEB to invest in the Caribbean country.

He said the new legislation allows those major businesses that do not currently exist in the Bahamas – such as aquaculture and biotechnology — to be brought there.

“I am excited at the prospect of Bahamians as well as individuals of Bahamian heritage who are not Bahamian citizens, but who have family ties in The Bahamas, utilizing the new Commercial Bill to invest in The Bahamas. “We are committed to making The Bahamas a more fair, more just society, less burdened by violent crime and less burdened by corruption by public officials. I invite my fellow Bahamians overseas, those of you of Bahamian heritage, and friends of The Bahamas, to consider new investment opportunities in The Bahamas in areas ranging from aquaculture to the maritime sector, to biotechnology,” Prime Minister Minnis said.

“The Bahamian Diaspora is a major talent and investment pool that The Bahamas must tap into,” Prime Minister Minnis added.