Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder said that the history of The Bahamas’ financial services centre is nothing short of amazing and this year, it celebrates nearly 80 years in the business of financial services.
“Our Government is proud of the fact that The Bahamas is a mature and responsible centre,” Minister Pinder said on February 7, 2013, during the Global Financial Summit, held at the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island. “The fact that we are still thriving in the midst of all of these changes speaks to the many advantages of The Bahamas as a centre for international business and financial services.”
Minister Pinder said, firstly, The Bahamas’ sovereignty “makes us nimble”.
“We can adjust our legislation and policies to take advantage of the changing circumstances,” he said. “Our government seeks advice from ‘policy entrepreneurs’ to inform us of new opportunities or new ways of doing things.
“Sovereignty means that the centre of decision-making rests internally – with the Cabinet of The Bahamas and ultimately with the Prime Minister. Our competitors do not have this advantage.”
Minister Pinder said The Bahamas is also endowed with a prime and accessible location. However, location alone is not everything, he added.
“Our government is committed to leveraging our location by investing in infrastructure to ensure that international and Bahamian investors alike have the necessary facilities to conduct business smoothly and efficiently,” Minister Pinder said.
Finally, Minister Pinder said, The Bahamas Government is proud of the depth and breadth of Bahamian and international talent in its centre and the sound and innovative regulatory environment which we have created over the years through well-thought out legislation.
The current government appreciates the crucial role financial services plays in the country’s national development, Minister Pinder said.
“The financial services sector contributes roughly 20 percent to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) – a conservative estimate – and employs some 7,000 Bahamians,” Minister Pinder said.
“As the second largest industry in The Bahamas, Financial Services must always be a robust industry, growing from strength to strength to support the overall standard of living to which Bahamians have become accustomed.”
It cannot be stated strongly enough, he added, the importance of the financial services sector in the creation of the Bahamian middle class cannot be denied.
“Financial Services is an industry here in The Bahamas that provides not only jobs for our citizens, but truly provides career development opportunities for our citizens and, ultimately, the opportunity to be entrepreneurs in the industry, leveraging the development of their individual human capital,” Minister Pinder said.
“Our government aims to ensure that policies exist to strengthen and expand the middle class of The Bahamas by extending opportunities for higher education and ownership to all citizens.
By Eric Rose
Bahamas Information Services