MINISTER URGES STRENGTHENING OF SERVICE CULTURE IN FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR
According to Minister of Financial Services, the Hon. Hope Strachan all measures should be taken to strengthen the service culture in The Bahamas.
During her contribution to the 2016/2017 National Budget Communication on June 8, 2016, Minister Strachan said that both government and private sector agencies must make efforts to improve efficiency, accountability, response time and client relations. This she believes would boost the country’s position in the global financial arena.
“Although we have begun some work in these areas, for instance, the new online companies registry at the Registrar General’s Department and on-line registration for business license applications, these initiatives still need to be coordinated with other departments. We must realize we are One Bahamas, the experience is holistic,” said Minister Strachan.
“More improvement is needed in immigration matters and with our regulatory agencies. Improving efficiencies and service attitudes is the responsibility of both the government and the private sector. We must work together. Our competitors are surpassing us in ‘ease of doing business.’ We must improve in technology and innovation.”
Minister Strachan said that The Bahamas was ranked 106th by World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2016 with a score of 59.0 which is considered far below the regional average for the Ease of Doing Business. She said that The Bahamas plummeted from 89th to 106th out of 189 nations according to the World Bank Table with Singapore ranking at number 1 with a score of 87.34.
She further stated that The Bahamas maintained its ranking in the areas of enforcing contracts, where The Bahamas upgraded from 63rd to 60th, the third straight increase; registering property dropped from 179th to 183rd and received the highest ranking in the category of ease of paying taxes where we jumped from 31 to 24 in the world. She pointed out, however, that the ease of starting a business is ranked at 118 with particular note that changes to doing business have made it more difficult than in previous years.
“Mr. Speaker, I reiterate that there is much room for improvement when it comes to the ease of doing business in The Bahamas,” she said. “The Bahamas is falling behind while our counterparts across the Caribbean are positioning themselves to be the best. We must work toward stimulating and improving our international competitiveness by reviewing and improving our policies and practices, offering speed and quality to the market as well as taking a good look at how we can improve existing legislation and regulatory practices that hinder our ability to grow and provide new services.”
She said that this does not translate into a lower standard, but that it is imperative that the government and regulators understand that the way that business is carried out has changed and that measures should be taken to equip the financial services industry with the ability to choose alternative approaches to capture new business alternatives in a clean and compliant environment.