The Woman Behind the Business Retreat

Women's Retreat 2017

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STATEMENT FROM THE TRANSPORT AND AVIATION MINISTER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

13th APRIL 2017

INCREASES IN NEW PROVIDENCE TAXI ZONE RATES

(via the Bahamas Information Services)

The Minister of Transport & Aviation advises that the Government of The Bahamas has agreed to increases in New Providence taxi zone rates, to the hourly taxi rates, and to related fees for taxi cab use, effective 1st May, 2017. The increases were approved following extensive consultation with the Taxi Union and the Ministry of Tourism. The existing rates have been in effect since November, 2008.

The public is advised further that in addition to the increases in the zone and hourly rates, it has also been determined that new taxi cab zones will be introduced in Fox Hill, South Beach and Pinewood Gardens, Marshall Rd. and Baillou Hill Rd. south, Carmichael Rd., and Golden Gates, Carmichael and Bacardi Roads, Carmichael and Gladstone Roads, and Carmichael Rd. and Faith Ave. These new zones were proposed by the Road Traffic Department, to provide members of the public wishing to ride into those communities with advance details on costs, prior to making the trip, as is now the case with the existing New Providence zones. As a consequence of the increases and new zone rates, the use of taxi cab meters will also cease, effective 1st May, 2017.

The public is informed that the rate increases represent a 20% increase in the zone rates for tourist areas, and a 10% increase for non-tourist areas. The hourly rates have been increased by 17% and 20% for all areas, with passengers riding in larger vehicles being required to pay the higher rate. In this regard, the rate for taxis with a seating capacity for more than five passengers has been increased from $60.00 to $70.00, while the rate for cabs with a capacity for five passengers or less has been increased from $45.00 to $55.00.  The one half an hour wait time for taxis transporting more than five passengers has been increased from $30.00 to $35.00, and the half hour wait time for vehicles with five or fewer passengers has been increased from $22.50 to $27.00.

In addition to the increased zone and hourly rates, the Government has also agreed to taxi driver requests for increases in the per passenger rate beyond two passengers from $3.00 per person, to $4.00 per person, to an increase from $2.00 to $3.00 for each additional piece of baggage beyond two pieces of luggage from 75 cents to $2.00 per piece, and to an increase for the carriage of large Duffle bags, golf Bags, boxes and large suitcases from $1.00 per piece to $3.00 per piece. There will continue to be no fee levied by taxi drivers for children under 3 years of age.

The public is informed that the Ministry of Transport & Aviation and the Road Traffic Department are satisfied that the increases are justified, and that they afford taxi drivers reasonable increases which do not unfairly impact the users of taxi cabs, including residents and tourists alike. The Ministry has also advised that increases for Grand Bahama and the Family Islands are now under review.

Elcott Coleby

Deputy Director

Bahamas Information Services

326-5833

477-7006

BCCEC Crowdfunding and SME: A New Way to Fund your Business

The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Securities Commission of the Bahamas, held its Crowdfunding Seminar on Thursday, March 23, 2017, at the British Colonial Hilton.

Crowdfunding is the funding of a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people (usually over the internet).

The seminar was hosted to offer an alternative way of funding for small and medium enterprises hoping to enter the public market by either starting or expanding their business.

Keynote speaker Prime Minister the Rt. Honorable Perry G. Christie pointed out that with approximately 60-70% of the jobs in the country stemming from SMEs this makes them the “backbone” of our economy.

Admitting that SMEs are vulnerable to the bank lending process because SMEs are not able to quickly adapt to change, there needed to be an alternative solution to receive necessary funding such as through crowdfunding. He charged the BCCEC along with the government in effectively communicating to the people who are a part of our economy of the opportunities that exist by the creation of an information portal.

In closing, the Prime Minister urged Bahamian entrepreneurs to take advantage of the remote places in the Bahamas, we must become aware of what is happening in the Bahamas and not just the capital.

Deputy Manager of Policy and Compliance at the Securities Commission of the Bahamas, Mr. Christian Adderley, spoke on the importance of crowdfunding and why the Commission is needed. He highlighted that there is approximately $300 billion in funding allocated for SMEs through crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding enables SMEs to stipulate payment terms and scheduling while presenting their business proposal to the public. SMEs must find out how best to impact the public with their business idea and choose the type of crowdfunding they want to employ.  The four types of crowdfunding are:

  • Reward
  • Social
  • Equity
  • Peer to Peer

The Commission’s importance in this transaction will be vital. The Commission will be charged with the protection of investors and project initiators (SMEs) and information asymmetry.

The Commission aims to provide SMES with an alternative access to funding, ultimately relaxing costs and the regulatory burden that is associated with entering the public market. In doing this, the Commission hopes to fuel innovation and growth in the economy and open investment and trading opportunities for the investor while providing the appropriate protection.

 

Full presentations made at the Crowdfunding Seminar can be viewed here:

ED Speech – CF-SME 20March2017

Business Capital Rules 2017 23Mar2017 2

SecuritiesCommissionRemarksMarch2017 -PM

State of Economy Report Forum 2017

Mr. John Rolle Presentation State of EconomyThe Bahamas_Outlook Presentation_Chamber of Commerce_Short_v2 JTurunenREPORT – State of the Economy 2017

The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) held its first State of Economy Report Forum on February 16, 2017. The Chamber of Commerce held “State 2017” in an attempt to offer a comprehensible view of the fiscal year in the Bahamas, providing a forum for Bahamian business owners to ask questions and address concerns to those who had a part in creating the rules regarding the country’s wealth. The Chamber’s CEO, Edison Sumner highlighted the importance of this forum, not from a political viewpoint, but from the mindset of those who have actually advised policy makers on how the Bahamian Economy should operate.

Speakers included Governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas, Mr. John A Rolle; Economics Sr. Specialist for the IADB, Allan Wright; Executive Director for Caribbean Countries for the IADB, Jerry Christopher Butler; GFO of Fidelity Bank (Bahamas) Ltd., Gowon Bowe; Financial Secretary of the Bahamas, Simon Wilson; and Keynote Speaker Chief to The Bahamas in the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Jarkko Turunen.

Highlights of the event included the overview of the Bahamas’ economic standing as reported by the IMF, as well as an explanation from Mr. Turunen, who stated that IMF reviews are meant to “exchange views with the government and the central bank” to consider whether there are risks to stability that argue for adjustments in economic or financial policies focusing on monetary, fiscal and financial policies and exchange rates as well as macro-critical structural reforms.  “With the goal to promote global economic and financial stability”.

On a visit to the Bahamas in December 2016, Mr. Turunen and his team apprised the nation’s financial outlook, post-Hurricane Matthew. As a result, Mr. Turunen and his team concluded that “structural impediments continue to constrain” economic growth in the Bahamas.

Mr. Turunen advised those in attendance that this country should seriously consider the implementation of a Fiscal Responsibility Act to reform the finances of the Government. Emphasizing that the Bahamas’ liability to natural disasters does not automatically present a barrier, he clarified that there are ways that the country can design ‘Fiscal Rules’ to allow the Government the ability to respond to a natural disaster appropriately.

The Fiscal Responsibility Act would essentially force the government to return to Parliament to explain and gain authorization for exceeding previous budget limits. ‘Fiscal rules’ also sets ‘caps’ for debt with accompanying ratios that the Government would not be able to surpass. He noted that in order to safeguard fiscal and external stability “continued fiscal consolidation is critical” this would not only rebuild fiscal and external policy buffers it would also boost investor confidence in the Bahamas.

A significant shift towards implementation of structural policies would raise human capital and reduce skill mismatch, reduce cost, and strengthen the business environment.  Mr. Turunen and Mr. Simon Wilson, Financial Secretary of the Ministry of Finance came to an agreement that there should be a revision as it pertains to the taxing of private businesses in the Bahamas.

Mr. Wilson charged that Business License fees for private businesses should be reviewed and lowered. Stating that there are other ways that the government can tax Bahamian businesses while noting that there are not currently any positions in terms of an alternative to taxing as the current taxing does not recognize company profitability.

Mr. John Rolle, Governor of the Central Bank of the Bahamas stated that the Central Bank maintains that the notion that The Bahamas is in the “danger zone” for devaluation is false. Noting that investment inflows and tourism are expected to strengthen the Bahamian economy over the “medium-term” despite recent credit ratings posing increased rate challenges for the Government. Mr. Rolle sustained that the government will continue to enjoy access to external financing depending on its willingness to accept higher interest premiums. He also pointed out that fiscal consolidation will continue to be the dominant determinant of whether we as a country achieve success in this area. Lastly, Mr. Rolle stated that any transition from the currency peg to a position of dollarization would require substantial improvements to our structure and a level of modification that would resemble an exciting private sector and an economy with superior foreign net exchange earning capacity.

Mr. Sumner indicated that the success of the State of Economy has led him to consider making the forum an annual event. With the Motto for the Chamber, this year being “The Ease of Doing Business” the success of the State of Economy shows that the private business sector has an interest in the direct impact the Bahamian Economy has on business.

 

Mr. John Rolle Presentation State of EconomyThe Bahamas_Outlook

Presentation_Chamber of Commerce_Short_v2 JTurunenREPORT – State of the

REPORT – State of the Economy Report 2017