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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
Distributor:Misunderstanding by firms on Similac recall

By GENEA NOEL
Freeport News Reporter
Several stores in New Providence have insisted that all Similac products made by Abbott Labs be removed from their shelves despite confirmation that only certain Similac-branded products were affected by the recent recall.
The recall was made following an internal quality review by the company, which detected the remote possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in the product produced in one production area in a single manufacturing facility.
According to officials from the Nassau Agencies Limited, local distributors for Similac, since the recall of some brands of the product last week, major stores have been requesting that their entire supply be re ...

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News Article
'20-30' contract value loss if given to foreign firms

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

Between 20-30 per cent of the contract value leaves the Bahamas when construction projects are given to foreign contractors, the Bahamian Contractors Association's (BCA) president telling Tribune Business that the $400 million worth of work pledged to Bahamians by Baha Mar would "have a profound trickle down effect into our economy".

Explaining that this $400 million would be paid directly to Bahamian contractors, large and small, by the $2.6 billion Cable Beach developer, Stephen Wrinkle said that if the same sum was paid to foreign contractors, only around $300 million at best would find its way into the Bahamian economy - a difference o ...

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News Article
BSE head hopes local firms have large role in Arawak Cay project

The head of the Bahamas Society of Engineers (BSE) is optimistic that Bahamians in the profession will have a good share of work in the $65 million Arawak Cay Port Development project, pointing out that local engineers are adept enough to take on the task.
Robert Reiss told Guardian Business yesterday that the work could be carried out by local engineers and the government doesn’t have to rely heavily on international contractors. “I would think that a large portion of [the Arawak Cay Port Development] if not the vast majority of that can be done by Bahamian engineers,” Reiss said. “The designing of buildings and structures, we have that handled wi ...

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News Article
Waste firms plan coalition to fix landfill 'disaster'

Leading waste disposal companies in the private sector are forming a coalition and suggesting a public tax to help bring the Nassau landfill up to code, with at least one stakeholder calling the current situation "a disaster".

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News Article
Two CIBC First Caribbean Sponsored JA Firms Win 'Company of the Year' Awards

TWO Junior Achievement companies sponsored by CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank were announced as winners of the coveted JA Company of the Year award.

FirstCaribbean managing director Marie Rodland-Allen said: "The winnings of our JA teams in Nassau and Abaco, and the bank's continued support of JA, are excellent testaments of the bank's engagement of communities in which it operates with a view of making them better.

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News Article
Ministry unsure how many Self Starter-funded firms still in business

The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture still does not know definitively how many of their Self Starter grant recipients are still in business, despite shelling out more than $1.7 million over three years to fund the program, according to minister responsible for the program Charles Maynard.
However, Maynard said his ministry is actively attempting to reach out to the more than 500 people who received grant money, and so far have contacted at least 75 percent of them.
Former minister of youth, sports and housing under the previous Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration Neville Wisdom told The Guardian yesterday that the government should have been able to offer something tangible to the public regarding the Self Starter program by now.  He said a list of all of the businesses that benefitted from the scheme should have been created a long time ago.
Wisdom contended that it is important for people to know who these grant awardees are, so that Bahamians can patronize their businesses.
Maynard lamented that many of the people who received the Self Starter grant money have changed phone numbers since receiving their awards and have thus far been unreachable.
He said, however, that of the 75 percent his ministry has been able to contact, a "vast majority" boast successful businesses because of the program.
"The vast majority still claim to be in business as we do our spot checks," he said. "They seem to be holding up."
Maynard admitted that some people have reported to the ministry that their businesses failed and that they had to sell the equipment they purchased with their grant money.
And despite giving out more than $1 million, he said there have been no reports that the money has been used for anything other than business start-ups.
"Up to this point we have not experienced any fraud," Maynard said.
"Some people may have gotten it and just given up the ghost after a short while, but we haven't gotten any reports of any fraud, where somebody would have gotten the money for themselves."
Maynard said several unique businesses have been born out of the program, including Bahamas Striping, which continues to grow and expand.
He also mentioned that several beauty salons and eateries started on Family Islands with the grant money have been successful.
Wisdom suggested that the government has to provide the list of companies started through the Self Starter program in order to show that the program has been fair, transparent and successful.
However, Maynard said he is not sure when those figures can be produced, as a field team from his ministry continues to gather data on the more than 500 recipients.

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News Article
List of firms searching for oil in the Bahamas released

THE Ministry of Environment has issued a list of the companies granted licenses to search for oil in the Bahamas and their current status in response to continuing claims that the moratorium on exploratory drilling is being violated.

Releasing the list, Environment Minister Earl Deveaux reiterated that the government told all licensees to "hold off" on drilling in 2008 due to boundary talks with Cuba, and the moratorium was extended following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mr Deveaux said the moratorium is very much still in place and will continue to be until extensive study and consultation is carried out.

He said: "The way of life in the Bahamas is d ...

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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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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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