|Prime Minister Christie: Government will assist Bahamians who want to create their own businesses|
|Thursday, 12 July 2012 08:31|
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie said the Government pledges to assist Bahamians with creating and starting new businesses by restructuring The Bahamas Development Bank and the Bahamas Industrial and Agricultural Corporation.
But for Bahamians to be able to become entrepreneurs and help diversify the economy of the country, they must first know about country, Prime Minister Christie said at the July 9 Opening of the CEO Network Ownership Summit. The event, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, was held at Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. “We are talking about opportunities; we are talking about believing in yourself, we are talking about having a personal vision that advances you, your family, your businesses, so therefore you must know your country.”
He said if Bahamians had knowledge of what was on the islands, they could then think of industries that could be created to help diversify the economy of the country. Prime Minister Christie said that tourism followed by Financial Services currently drive the Bahamian economy. “So, insofar as the economy of the country is concerned, it is driven essentially by those two, and a work in progress must come about toward diversification.” He explained that much of the money made in tourism is leaked back out of the country, because of the consumptive nature of the Bahamian society.The Prime Minister said the money also leaks out because very little effort has been made to promote manufacturing or promote linkages to create enterprises branching off from tourism and the financial sector. He noted that nationalists in the country are very concerned about the foreign direct investment, where foreign nationals or interests are buying land throughout The Bahamas. Prime Minister Christie said, “There are thousands of people around the world who have a vision for The Bahamas, but theirs is to come in and make money.”
However, he said, the nationalists want to know where are the Bahamians? The Prime Minister said the really wealthy Bahamians have not yet been attracted to owning a major part of the chief industry in the country. He said it is the Government’s intention to help protect the interests of Bahamians who want to invest in their economy. Prime Minister Christie said that after talking with local business persons, the Government is going to revert back to the regime that reserves nightclubs and restaurants for Bahamians.
He explained that the law had been amended to allow non-Bahamians to involve themselves in the nightclub and restaurant business, while before they could only do it with specialty restaurants. The Prime Minister said The Bahamas has signed technical agreements with other countries to expose Bahamians to training. He said as a result, Hal Taylor came along with the bags and other Bahamians have become more involved in creating. “It is said that about $250 million is spent a year on handicrafts and souvenirs or maybe even $300 million, but there is a great opportunity for Bahamians to be involved in that, and for a discerning government to get involved towards ensuring that they are protected.”
Prime Minister Christie said the Government must look into protecting Bahamians who want to get into that business, as he is still noticing foreign goods being sold in souvenir shops. Other speakers at the event included Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis; Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement the Hon. Loretta Butler Turner; Tennyson Wells; Ben Albury and U. S. television’s, Judge Joe Brown.
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