Feb 27, 2023

The Government is making it more difficult for businesses and its policies are frustrating the

private sector. The Opposition supports the comments by the BCCEC and shares the concerns

raised by them and, in particular, Bahamian micro and small businesses regarding the excessive new measures and burdens placed on them by this arrogant PLP government. It is shameful that the private sector has so publicly blasted the government for its policies. We call upon the Government to immediately address their concerns.

The FNM made it a focus of our administration to support, fund, and encourage small businesses. During our administration, significant steps were made to reduce red tape and digitize certain processes. Just yesterday in the House of Assembly, the FNM challenged the government on these same measures which our constituents rightly have complained to us and the authorities about. Bahamian small businesses are just beginning to recover from the fallout of the pandemic and now face a government that is determined to put up obstacles and make their challenging environment even worse. The Government should be doing all it can to promote, assist and encourage small businesses instead of adding to their frustrations.

We demand that the government immediately reverse their hastily imposed andill- advised requirements for business owners to chase down the real property tax information of their landlords. In no scenario is that a reasonable requirement of a tenant. We demand that the government cease its requirements for proof of income during this licensing period for micro and small businesses.

If the government wants to change the financial information required from small businesses, it must give the businesses at least six months to plan for and adequately provide

the information – with provisions for the training and support of small businesses. This is an

added expense that some businesses will find very difficult to meet. We demand that the government cease its wholly unreasonable and expensive demand that all Customs brokers pay to integrate with its Customs Click2Clear system.

This should be something that is wholly optional for brokers. And if the government wishes to demand integration, the government must be prepared to foot the lion’s share of the costs. The FNM does not recall any relevant Minister of this Davis Administration speaking to the “Ease of Doing Business” in the Bahamas.

The Government has wholly failed to focus on making it easier for businesses to operate. There is no push to get capital and resources into the hands of Bahamian entrepreneurs and small businesses which desperately need them. This government seems content to push initiatives that make it harder to do business in The Bahamas. We demand that they reverse their approach and instead turn their energy to finding ways to empower and expand the Bahamian

entrepreneurial class.

J. Kwasi Thompson

Member of Parliament East Grand Bahama/Shadow Minister for Finance February 7, 2023

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