The Ministry of Finance’s current focus is on fiscal stability and fiscal responsibility in The Bahamas, and this can only be achieved by a growing economy, said Simon Wilson, Financial Secretary in the Finance Ministry.
Furthermore, the small business sector continues to be a crucial factor in the growth and health of the Bahamian economy, Mr. Wilson explained at the Town Hall Meeting for aspiring and current manufacturers and processors organized by the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) at its complex on Old Trail Road, Thursday, November 24, 2022.
He said small businesses will be given support by the government in many ways including the “most obvious way”, which is cash.
“We are in advanced discussions with the Caribbean Development Bank for a line of up to $50 million. That money is going to be allocated among the various agencies.”
The Financial Secretary said, “Hopefully, there is going to be a substantial allocation from that to BAIC to replicate this complex elsewhere in The Bahamas to help grow small businesses not just here in New Providence but also in the Family Islands.”
He added that another part of that funding is going to go to the Bahamas Development Bank as well as the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) to help provide loans to small businesses.
Mr. Wilson also explained that the government has made the process easier for small businesses to apply for duty exemptions. Moreover, the government has become more flexible in its offering of duty exemptions for vehicles and manufacturing parts.
“That’s a big part of what we do for small businesses and that is in the millions per annum in terms of support.”
He said the government also helps small businesses through training, exposure and development. Part of the SBDC’s core mandate is to provide administrative support for small businesses to help them expand and operate by offering training and mentorship.
Mr. Wilson said this is one of the reasons why the government funded and created the SBDC to focus on training and mentoring.
“From the Ministry of Finance’s perspective that is very important. Most businesses in the Bahamas fail not from a lack of resources. They fail because of a lack of administrative knowledge of what to do.”