Macroeconomic Objectives

 

  • Reduce the Central Bank of The Bahamas discount rate by 2 basis points within 1 year.

 

  • Reduce the public debt to 70% of GDP within 3 years and 65% in 5 years.

 

  • Increase investments by 30% of GDP within 3 years.

 

  • Create a 2% budget surplus in 3 years.

 

  • Reduce unemployment to 8% within 4 years.

 

  • Increase our foreign reserves by a firm 30% within 4 years.

 

  • Build the VAT-able business registry by 20% within 4 years.

 

  • Increase our Financial Services sector by 50% within 5 years.

 

  • Decrease our trade deficit by 30% within 5 years.

 

  • Reduce private sector debt by 30%.

 

  • Increase the Bahamas Stock Exchange par-value by 100% within 5 years.

 

  • Increase the pool of professionally certified persons in all sectors by 30% within 5 years.

 

  • Work toward relaxing and liberalizing the process of exchange controls within 5 years.

 

  • Pass the Fiscal Accountability Act.

Public Finances & Tax Systems

 

A DNA Government will:

 

  • Work with a notable Accounting & Management Consulting Firm to manage the transition between the current administration and the DNA administration, and field the advice of such industry professionals on performance management indicators.

 

  • Prioritize the acceleration of the major upgrading of the country’s financial management systems, as initiated by the Inter-American Development Bank.

 

  • Thoroughly review the Value Added Tax system in an effort to reduce its impact on the cost of living in The Bahamas.

 

  • Implement performance-based budgeting practices which would cut funding to underperforming, wasteful and unnecessary projects as part of efforts to right-size the government portfolio.

 

  • Implement a Flat-Rate Business License Scheme.

 

  • Pass a Fiscal Accountability Act.

 

  • Undertake an audit of the National Debt.

 

  • Introduce a National Lottery and use some of the revenue to finance our new education, healthcare, sports and culture initiatives.

Investments

 

  • Make the investment process more transparent through the use of online platforms with additional checks and balances, overseen by an investment advisor assigned by the Bahamas Investment Authority.

 

  • Assign specific individuals in the public service the task of overseeing each investment application from submission to approval.

 

  • Introduce an electronic approval system by which a project can be accepted or vetoed by cabinet within 60 days.

 

  • Eliminate bureaucratic red tape by automating certain approvals for Bahamian investors, keeping projects under a certain financial threshold from the sphere of cabinet, and funnel investments through a complete electronic approval system.

 

  • Set clear guidelines for investment and investment approvals, updating and revising them where necessary.

 

  • Ensure that proper credit risk assessments are done on all investors that have at least 10% stake within each joint venture or project they undertake.

 

  • Ensure that a proper exit strategy is in place for large-scale companies.

 

  • Ensure that there is significant Bahamian participation and Bahamian stakeholder involvement in all Foreign Direct Investment projects.

Entrepreneurship

 

A DNA Government will:

 

  • Set aside seed money for employer associations to conduct business management skills training in conjunction with the public and the government.

 

  • Re-organize the Business License Unit of the Ministry of Finance and make it a one-stop portal for licensing, National Insurance contribution approvals and tax administration in general. 

 

  • Establish the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Commerce.

 

  • Ensure greater efficiency in the administration of Value Added Tax credits, refunds and/or exemptions by making more staffing and resources available for case management.

 

  • Establish a venture capital fund that will assist entrepreneurs and small to medium sized businesses, funded by revenue from a National Lottery.

 

  • Re-capitalize lending support agencies like the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund, and the Bahamas Development Bank, and work with international agencies like the Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank and other developmental aid agencies.

 

  • Streamline the investment process by placing automatic checkpoints that do not have to go to Cabinet for approval provided that the requests are within a certain financial threshold.

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

 

A DNA Government will:

 

  • Establish a SME Business Council made up of persons from the private and public sectors and have them readily available to guide on policy matters relating to the overall business environment.

 

  • Enact the Small and Medium Sized Business Development Act with due haste based on common sense recommendations from our stakeholders.

 

  • Create an SME Development Agency within the Ministry of Finance and have this agency initiate, develop and manage programmes like training seminars and trade shows targeted towards SMEs.

 

  • Make the process for SME loan applications more swift and efficient.

 

  • Work with the Clearing Banks Association and the Bahamas Insurance Association to strengthen insurance bond facilities for SMEs.

 

  • Refuse to mandate application timelines or limit the amount of times a company can apply for funding.

Worker Training

 

A DNA Government will:

 

  • Increase funding allocated for training in the private sector.

 

  • Work with employer associations to assist with rolling out new training programmes and have them tailored by industry.

 

  • Have industry professionals, employer associations and trade unions identify skills gaps in their respective industries, and allow educators to tailor curriculums to fill these gaps.

 

  • Work with donor agencies and international development agencies and employer associations to fund mass-employee training seminars for persons looking for certifications and re-certifications.

 

  • Increase employment by increasing opportunities for entrepreneurs to create more jobs through a rigorous investment incentive.

 

  • Increase the minimum wage from $210 per week to $250 per week, or $6.25 per hour.

Trade

 

A DNA Government will:

 

  • Review all offers for trade agreements The Bahamas is currently engaged in, and amend those terms where necessary.

 

  • Upgrade the standards and quality of The Bahamas’ systems to facilitate trade between our country and our partners, whether regional or international.

 

  • Implement better regulations on capital flows to prepare The Bahamas for increased international trade and cooperation.

 

  • Not sign any trade agreement, formally or in principle, without the express consent of The Bahamian people by virtue of polling data or Referendum.

 

  • Undertake a country-wide diagnostic on all sectors of The Bahamian economy, determine our comparative and/or competitive advantages, and invite the private sector to participate in the development of these sectors.

Tourism & Financial Services

 

A DNA Government will:

 

  • Establish an SME Business Council made up of persons from the private and public sectors and have them readily available to guide on policy matters relating to the overall business environment.

 

  • Enact the Small and Medium Sized Business Development Act with due haste based on common sense recommendations from our stakeholders.

 

  • Create an SME Development Agency within the Ministry of Finance and have this agency initiate, develop and manage programmes like training seminars and trade shows targeted towards SMEs.

 

  • Make the process for SME loan applications more swift and efficient

 

  • Work with the Clearing Banks Association and the Bahamas Insurance Association to strengthen insurance bond facilities for SMEs.

 

In Tourism, a DNA government will:

 

  • Expand incentives and tax breaks to Bahamian entrepreneurs in the Family Islands that want to open Boutique Hotels. 

 

  • Make Crown Land available for Bahamians wishing to open up Boutique Hotels on the Family Islands. 

 

  • Invest in cultural tourism in a meaningful way and set aside additional funding for the marketing and promotion of our cultural tourism brand

 

  • Increase marketing expenditure that would be targeted for the promotion of our Junkanoo Parade Celebrations. 

 

In Financial Services, a DNA government will: 

 

  • Put all services provided worldwide on the table and make the climate suitable for any firm to be able to participate in our financial services sector.

 

  • Bolster financial services training education by establishing a council of educators with representation from relevant employer associations and public and private tertiary centres.

 

  • Commission more research and data and analysis tools on international finance and set up a Research and Product Development desk within the Ministry of Financial Services.

 

  • Increase the minimum wage from $210 per week to $250 per week, or $6.25 per hour.  

 

  • Conduct a skills-gap assessment of our professionals in the financial services sector with the help of international agencies like the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank. 

 

  • Develop a currency trading hub of the Caribbean, inclusive of currencies such as a Chinese Yuan, Brazilian Real and other established currencies like the Canadian Dollar, American Dollar, the Euro and Pound Sterling. 

Banking

 

A DNA Government will:

 

  • Consult the Central Bank of The Bahamas on reducing their discount rate to 4% within our first six months in office.

 

  • Partner with the Clearing Banks to extend a $25 million bond for businesses within our first year in office.

 

  • Allow all Bahamians to have US dollar accounts, repatriate their US dollars and invest their hard earned money in any country in which they can get the best return under certain guidelines and procedures. 

 

  • Call for the standardization of loan application forms and encourage the Clearing Banks Association to ensure that there is a national policy in this regard.

 

  • Take control of our commercial banking again by adhering to strict ‘Know Your Customer’ and Anti-Money Laundering guidelines that will be the highest standard in the Western Hemisphere. 

 

  • Pass legislation that would prohibit the bundling of credit card services with other services and programmes with the bank.

 

  • Pass legislation that prohibits bank bonuses that are not tied to loan performance.

 

  • Pass legislation on consumer protection issues as it relates to banking and insurance companies.

Agriculture

 

A DNA Government will:

 

  • Provide marketing credits and support that will link locally made products to tourism-based companies.

 

  • Exempt from duty equipment that goes into the production of Cascarilla, Pineapples, Mangoes, Coconuts, Aloe, Limes and any cash-crop that has a considerable market for direct produce or its material can be used and made profitable after research and determinations are made on their viability.

 

  • Reshape and improve BAMSI through an updated mandate that incorporates modern teaching and learning practices that will place the institution on par with similar institutions internationally.

 

  • Sign articulation agreements with the American Food and Drug Administration, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the European Food Safety Authority and create an atmosphere that keeps food and safety regulations in The Bahamas at world standards.

 

  • Continue to build the linkages between packing houses, companies that purchase locally grown goods and the Ministry of Agriculture.

 

  • Create a Farmer’s Directory to keep record of seasonal times for planting and harvest.

 

  • Allow trade finance support to companies that export fish and marine resources.

 

  • Pursue applications for the creation of Aquaculture Centres for entrepreneurs wishing to invest in the mass production, cultivation, harvest and marketing of Marine Resources.

 

  • Pass legislation to protect our Fly Fishing Industry.

 

  • Add to the Summer Work Programme initiative undertaken every year by the Public Service specific seats for persons wishing to work with the Ministry of Agriculture or any Agricultural-based business on record.

Labour

 

A DNA Government will:

 

  • Undergo a revision and swift implementation of the regulations under The Health and Safety at Work Act.

 

  • Look into the feasibility of a National Pensions scheme for all workers that would make pensions transferable in the event of a change in employment.  

 

  • Increase the amount of consultation regarding international trade agreements with union leaders.

 

  • Invite leaders of unions to have observer status at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings and other international meetings where the decisions and outcomes impact workers' rights.

 

  • Undergo a review of The Industrial Relations Act and The Employment Act to modernize its policies & guidelines. 

 

  • Require that companies with a staff size of over 200 employees must show records of their company’s financial performance to the government.

 

  • Ensure that the current Industrial Agreement and other relevant acts have within them mandates that employers must show a clear and consistent track record of irrefutable evidence when employees are released. 

 

  • Strengthen laws regarding employer coercion and contract guidelines.

 

  • Make it illegal for any employer to force prospective employees to sign waivers of consent that they will not join a trade union, ask if they are a part of a trade union, or be barred due to past association with a trade union or any association that is deemed personal.

 

  • Mandate that companies of significant size in the tourism sector negotiate jointly with the government, relevant trade union and employer association on any particular developments that would shape the direction of the entity.