Committee To Improve Business License Process
Nassau, The Bahamas — Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Allyson Maynard Gibson announced changes December 5 that will speed up the process of business formation in The Bahamas.
The announcement was made at a press conference at the Office of the Attorney General.
Processing business applications and collecting business tax revenue is one of the Bahamas Government’s Registrar General’s most frequent means of public income. The Attorney General’s Office is currently drafting amendments to the Companies Act and the IBC Act to create Schedule Companies.
Named to the Companies Advisory Committee are: Damian Gomez, Jacinda Butler, Donna Smith, Felix Stubbs, Aliya Allen, Cherise Cox Nottage, Michelle Pindling Sands, Donna Lee Harding, Antoinette Russell, Robin Scavella, and Debi Williams.
“This advisory committee comprises of a cadre of young and dynamic attorneys, accountants and practitioners in company registration,” said the Attorney General. She said they represent some of the most talented and brightest minds capable of competing with anyone in the world.
“We are drafting amendments to the Companies Act and the IBC Act to create a ‘Schedule Company’. Financial and Corporate Service Providers incorporating a Schedule Company will be able to do so within minutes. They will fit in all the required fields and pay online. This will result in the ability to immediately obtain online a certificate of incorporation. We will also provide ability, in respect of these newly formed companies, to file annual returns and pay annual fees online. This will result in the ability to obtain certificates of good standing online in seconds, as opposed to the days or weeks as now is the case.”
The Attorney General’s Office has engaged IBM, which is the world’s leader in creating business systems to work with vendors and RGD teams. The technology magnet would advise the Bahamas Government on how to deliver companies within minutes. The AG’s office has also consulted the private sector and their support was indicated by the willingness of the committee members to volunteer their time to help bring into the RGD, 21st Century best practices.
“We are all disturbed about The Bahamas’ ranking as 77th in the World Banks’ IFC Report on the ease of doing business. The Bahamas’ ranking as 77th is down eight points from last year’s rating as 71st. The details of the chart show that it takes 10 to 11 days to form a company. This is unacceptable. It is possible to form a company in minutes. The primary mandate of this committee is to advise the Attorney-General on ways for improving company registration thereby enhancing the ease for doing business in The Bahamas,” said AG Maynard Gibson.
“We have also asked the advisory Committee to suggest other areas of service that can easily be provided on line in Phase 1 of the Project, in order for The Bahamas to meet national and international standards, challenges, and demands. In order to accomplish this goal, the Committee will meet with staff to sensitise them to the needs of the industry practitioners. They have offered that the staff from the Companies Section at the Registrar General’s Department the opportunity to understudy the processes within the private sector.”
The Attorney General’s Office believes that the training will give a firsthand appreciation and sensitise Government employees in the Registrar General’s Office of the private sector demands and operations that time is of the essence and time is money for the business sector. The AG’s Office believes the turnaround time for doing business within The Bahamas will be reduced substantially.
“IBM has indicated that with proper support, this project will be operational within six months,” said the Attorney General Maynard.
“I salute this effort as it is a classic case of private/public sector cooperation and a focused attempt to heighten the level of efficiency in the Registrar General’s Department.”
By Gena Gibbs
BAHAMAS INFORMATION SERVICES
Caption: The Bahamas Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson.business, government, politics