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News Article: BCCEC laments lack of support for business sector in Speech from the Throne

Published by Chester Robards, The Nassau Guardian, October 6th, 2023

Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) Chairman Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson said yesterday that the Davis administration’s Speech from the Throne lacked “substantial support” for the business community.

The Speech from the Throne, which outlines the government’s legislative agenda, mentioned several business related reforms linked to the Registrar General’s office and intellectual property.

However, Rutherford-Ferguson said many important issues were left unaddressed.

“… We express concern over the lack of substantial support for the business community,” Rutherford-Ferguson said in a statement.

“Collectively, the private sector employs the majority of the Bahamian workforce, and as a result is an important constituent in the economic health of our country.

“We acknowledge mention of impending reforms to the Registrar General’s office to improve the ease of doing business and the indication of reforms to intellectual property legislation to protect the creative industry.

“Regrettably, the government did not address other matters such as: improving digitization across government agencies; plans to reform our business tax system; a national framework for public private partnerships and the establishment of a public private/partnership unit; business-related incentives to establish and/or grow industries; a legislative framework to provide financial support to businesses negatively impacted by government-imposed challenges like prolonged and extensive roadworks; a plan which will address and remediate public infrastructural strain such as flooding after heavy rains as this impedes access to businesses; [and] a climate resiliency business support scheme.”

She added, as she did in her initial statement released Sunday, that the high cost of electricity is also continuing to cripple many businesses.

She said the BCCEC will wait to see what plans the new Ministry of Energy will develop to ease the pressure on businesses.

Rutherford-Ferguson said she hopes that the Speech from the Throne was not an “exhaustive list” of the things the government hopes to achieve in this next phase of governance.

“Further, we also trust that the above matters will be considered and included in this parliamentary session,” she said.

“A commitment in this regard will signal a pledge to strengthen the business community by creating a positive, business-friendly environment enabling private sector growth.

“Collaboration between the public and private sectors is vital for overcoming challenges and building a prosperous future for all.”

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