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News Article
Tariff equality under WTO for Freeport firms

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

Freeport-manufactured products must attract the same tariffs as rival foreign-produced ones under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules before they can enter other Bahamian islands, this nation's chief trade negotiator said yesterday, adding that the Bahamas "can really take advantage" of the Port area's 'special status' under a rules-based trading regime.

Raymond Winder, Deloitte & Touche (Bahamas) managing partner and the Bahamas' chief negotiator in the WTO accession process, told Tribune Business that while Freeport and its 'free trade zone' status could exist under the WTO's global rules-based trading mechani ...

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News Article
100 Bahamian firms hired for Baha Mar

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

"Close to" 100 Bahamian companies have been engaged on $100 million worth of contracts awarded on Baha Mar's $2.6 billion Cable Beach expansion, a senior executive yesterday saying the project was "on target" to achieve its projected economic impacts.

Robert Sands, Baha Mar's senior vice-president for external and governmental affairs, told Tribune Business that some 1,060 Bahamians had been employed on the Baha Mar project to date as Phase One construction moved to a close.

The "first coat of paint" was being placed on the bank and government buildings comprising Baha Mar's Commercial Village, Mr Sands said, with ...

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News Article
91% of Bahamas firms account for 5.3% of GDP

The planned Small Business Council will create various "taskforces" to assess how best to implement recommendations to enhance Bahamian small and medium-sized businesses that were contained in a 2007 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report, which estimated that despite containing 91 per cent of all businesses, this sector produced just 5.3 per cent of national gross domestic product (GDP).

Khaalis Rolle, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce's president and co-chair for the Council, said last week that the IDB report, which was never formally published by the Government or IDB, would provide a "road map" for the body's work going forward.

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News Article
Brazilian firms to arrive in 2013

The Ministry of Financial Services expects Brazilian financial institutions to officially set up shop in Nassau by the end of this calendar year.
Latin America has often been seen as a lucrative frontier for the country's second pillar of the economy amid a brave new world of regulatory scrutiny by western powers. This region, and in particular Brazil, has been an area of focus for both the public and private sector in recent months.
Ryan Pinder, the minister of financial services, insisted that these efforts should bear fruit in 2013.
"I think by the end of this calendar year you'll see some physical institutions here, based on my trips to Brazil," he told Guardian Business. "Fund administration is a new area that Brazilian asset managers are interested in, because they use a lot of funds. There are applications being prepared to get to regulators to award licenses to fund administration institutions out of The Bahamas, to provide the support mechanisms for their clients in Brazil."
The disclosure from Pinder came at a "Meet the Minister" luncheon hosted by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation at the British Colonial Hilton.
Pinder went so far as to state the grass roots establishment of Brazilian fund managers would be a "watershed" moment in financial services.
"You need form and substance," he explained.
"Substance brings credibility. Setting up operations rather than a name plate, brings instant credibility to the country and develops that substance and employment opportunities for Bahamians. So it is absolutely a watershed moment. We are a full service jurisdiction. And this is proof of that."
Speaking on the subject of Bahamian jobs in financial services, the minister acknowledged that more work needs to be done to get locals qualified for top level positions.
The Ministry of Financial Services has no wish to "handcuff" leading banks, he explained, but there is an effort to provide "Bahamianization" incentives that "mean something".
Pinder praised a number of leading banks for having aggressive succession plans for Bahamians that few people talk about. That said, there is more work to be done in the area of human capital.
In particular, the Cabinet minister identified language skills as a key stumbling block to Bahamians achieving key positions in international banking.
"We have a very heavy need for language. You have international clients all over the world. We want a defined program for language training for young Bahamians, where banks send young professionals with promise away to get sensitized to the culture and language," according to Pinder. "So when you come back, Bahamians can advance to the highest levels."
Language training would be an important attribute if Latin American institutions increasingly set up shop in The Bahamas.

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News Article
FOUR BAHAMAS FIRMS FIND WINNING WAYS

FOUR Bahamian businesses - a restaurant and three luxury retailers recently came up winners in the MasterCard-Ministry of Tourism 'Find Your Way' initiative, walking away with an early Christmas present of cash from the international credit and debit card company for being number one in the increase of MasterCard sales volume for the month.

The most recent winners were the Kafe Kalik restaurant at Lynden Pindling International Airport, Carlo Milano and Effy Jewellers of Bay Street, and A la Plage, Marina Village, Paradise Island. Each received international recognition and a cheque for $1,000, rewarding them for their performance.

"The outstanding performance of our winning merchant ...

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News Article
Global firms benefitting from Festival in the Workplace

Ringplay singing and dancing are not frequent features at conferences dedicated to improving workplace culture, but are not out of place at the fourth Festival in the Workplace (FITW) conference being held at the British Colonial Hilton from November 15 - 17.
Festival in the Workplace defines itself as "a transformation process that stimulates people to become their most creative, productive and passionate selves." FITW focuses on using experiences and lessons learned from the arts and festivals such as Junkanoo to create a culture where employees experience joy, meaning and fulfilment to help the organization and individuals reach their goals.
"It is good to see that this was app ...

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News Article
Int'l firms hit with 3.5 spike in cost of remitting profits
Int'l firms hit with 3.5 spike in cost of remitting profits

BTC, Commonwealth Brewery and international banks operating Bahamian subsidiaries are among those companies who will be subject to a 3.5 percent increase in the cost of remitting profits out of the country as a result of a new tax on the repatriation of profits imposed by the government.

Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis yesterday clarified an amendment to the Stamp Act highlighted by Guardian Business on Friday, which had caused considerable concern among practitioners in the financial, legal and real estate sectors who feared their transactions would be impacted...

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News Article
Recovery optimism tempered among Bahamian firms

By ALISON LOWE

Business Reporter

alowe@tribunemedia.net

Businessmen yesterday expressed some optimism that economic conditions and the business environment in the Bahamas will improve in 2011, but recovery tempered by a variety of factors - rising oil prices, government intervention, Bahamian consumer debt levels and the effectiveness of recent economic stimuli in the US.

President of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Khaalis Rolle, said he was "cautiously optimistic" for Bahamian economic prospects next year if conditions improve in the US, but with several caveats.

"I am beginning to see some levelling off, but 2011 is going to be all about recovery. To the extent that the Governme ...

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News Article
Turnquest reveals firms behind 7M CCTV system

The downtown area and other criminal hot spots will soon be monitored under closed circuit televisions (CCTV), as the government is now in final negotiations with the companies that will implement the system.
National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest has announced Lowe's Alarm and its American partner, Aries, as the companies that were chosen.
He revealed that the government is presently in negotiations with the company to determine the terms and conditions of the contract.
"We've been in intense negotiations for the past week. It started with nine companies and now it's down to one. The tendering process began late last year," according to Turnquest.
Earlier this month Deputy Police Commissioner Quinn McCartney confirmed to Guardian Business that the CCTV's will be operated under a joint venture between a Bahamian-based company and an international partner.
However, he remained tight-lipped concerning the parties involved.
Based on the magnitude of the project, McCartney said it was necessary for it to be a joint initiative, adding that he's satisfied with the chosen companies.
Now that the companies have been revealed, Turnquest noted that he was pleased with the manner in which the tendering process was carried out, calling it open and transparent.
In addition to forming a national committee, the government spent thousands of dollars to hire an American-based consultant to assist them with the bidding documents.
"We enlisted the expertise of a consultant from Hudson Sterling Ltd. They conducted an analysis of the bids and ensured that the candidates were properly qualified to do so. Recommendations were then laid out to the government," he explained.
Turnquest said the implementation of the CCTV network will greatly assist police in their plans for crime fighting in 2012 and beyond.
"The multimillion-dollar CCTV network is expected to be more than a crime prevention tool; it is intended to also act as a deterrent to criminals and would-be criminals," Turnquest noted.
McCartney revealed that initially most of the cameras will be placed throughout the downtown area, including the courts.
"Cameras will be strategically placed throughout downtown, as it is not only a hot spot for tourists but also economic activity. However, we are not just limiting it to that area. There will be some placed in some of the areas around the island that continue to give us problems in our crime fighting efforts," McCartney said.
McCartney told Guardian Business that the estimated $7 million initiative has been in the pipeline for just over two years.
The project is expected to be fully operational by mid-2012.

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