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NEWS REPORT: Chamber lauds govt’s budgetary initiatives

The Offical Nassau Guardian (Nassau, Bahamas): Calling many of the government’s initiatives for the business community outlined in yesterday’s 2020/2021 budget communication “positive”, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) yesterday said some will require a joint effort between the government and private sector to work through.

BCCEC Chairperson Khrystle L. Rutherford-Ferguson said the announcement of the government’s intention to not raise taxes is positive, as well as its intention to increase support to small businesses.

“Our initial impression of the budget communication is that it contains some items which we believe will have a positive impact on the business community, some items which require further details and some items which will necessitate collaboration with the private sector to ensure successful implementation,” she said in a statement released yesterday.

“Over the course of the budget debate, the BCCEC will review the draft estimates and listen to the ministers as they present their plans; such plans will give the private sector insight into the policies that will be used to implement the items contained in the budget.”

In addition to increasing its allocation for small and medium-sized business to $55 million, the government has also allocated $30 million to expand the Business Continuity Loan Program for Bahamian entrepreneurs and small businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19 and plans to expand its tax deferral program to $120 million.

“The strain and uncertainty that the business community faces amidst the reduction in revenue in this COVID-19 environment is underscored by the government’s recognition that this is not the time for a tax increase. The Small Business Development Centre’s (SBDC) increase in funding is also positive. As a founding partner, the BCCEC supports the growth and development of small businesses and looks forward to our continued collaboration in this regard,” Rutherford-Ferguson said.

“While we appreciate that this is an initial presentation, we would like to get more details around how the government plans to implement extending the VAT (value-added tax) credit and deferral program, as well as obtaining more information on the public-private partnership initiatives.”

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