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Ministry of Finance announces flexibility with pricing displays during onset of VAT
Submitted by BIS   
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 14:35

NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Ministry of Finance announced there will be some leniency with pricing display during the early days of the VAT.  

This statement comes after retail businesses voiced concerns about the amount of effort that will be required to change all display prices immediately on January 1st.  “We recognize that many businesses, such as retail grocers, will need extra days and perhaps weeks beyond January 1st to replace sticker prices on all shelved inventory.  As such, they will be given until February 28 to complete the process,” Financial Secretary, John Rolle said.  As of March 2015, enforcement of VAT inclusive price displays will become more absolute

Under the VAT Act, VAT registrants will have to display all prices inclusive of any amount of VAT that must be paid.  In other words, the 7.5% VAT that is payable on a product must already be added to the price on display.  “An item for example that sells today for $10 and has a VAT charge of 75 cents must have a display price of $10.75.” 

Mr. Rolle explained that this sticker re-pricing has to be done for all items in stock.  He said that the flexibility that the VAT Department will take under the law will be to allow stores to have some items on display that still show their old price stickers.  “However, to help with consumer education and to ease the transition, business will have to use bin tags, flyers and other means to openly advertise their VAT inclusive prices,” he said.  

The Financial Secretary further added that “the VAT Department is urging that notices of price changes be posted in stores before the end of 2014.

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Statement on energy policy by Minister of the Environment
Submitted by Joette Penn   
Monday, 29 September 2014 09:13
Hon. Kenred Dorsett
Minister of the Environment and Housing

RE:  Energy Policy Commentary

The Policy document released to the public last week is a road map to energy sector reform which should be fully realized by 2033.  I have read with interest commentary from some who are casting doubt on the Residential Energy Self Generation Programme as laid out in my last release.  

The truth of the matter is at present there is no programme available to Bahamians whereby they can receive credit for energy that they place into the grid.  Bahamians who are now using solar energy in their homes and businesses are receiving nothing.  The plan set forth and approved by Cabinet is taking the Bahamas in the right direction by promoting alternative energy use and hopefully reducing the amount of energy needed from the Bahamas Electricity Corporation.

The amounts of kilowatts that will be accepted in the grid is based on the research and expertise of BEC.  It is a good start in my view and can always be adjusted in the future.  Persons should also keep in mind that under the current regime, the option is available for those who are fortunate enough to power their entire home or business, by wind or solar options, to request permission from the minister responsible for Electricity for full disconnection and removal from the grid.  

The steps that the Government is taking as regard energy sector reform are progressive and will change the country for the better; lowing electricity costs, lowing the Government's fuel bill,  creating new entrepreneurial opportunities and jobs and lessening our collective carbon footprint.
 
Elcott Coleby: This week in The Bahamas review
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Monday, 29 September 2014 08:07

PRIME MINISTER CHRISTIE ADDRESSED THE UNGA

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie traveled to New York City earlier this week along with a ministerial delegation to deliver the country’s statement on climate change at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly Climate Change Summit 2014. The Prime Minister addressed the UN on Tuesday, 23rd Sept.

Accompanying the Prime Minister were First Lady, Mrs. Bernadette Christie; Minister of Tourism, Hon. Obie Wilchcombe; Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Fred Mitchell and the Environment and Housing Minister, Hon. Kenred Dorsett.

According to a statement released by the UN on its website, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has “invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to Climate Summit 2014 this 23 September to galvanize and catalyze climate action. He has asked these leaders to bring bold announcements and actions to the Summit that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015.”

Prime Minister Christie told delegates that because the Bahamas was a low lying archipelagic chain, a definitive agreement to reverse global warming was critical to the survival of The Bahamas and other Small Island Nation States (SIDS).

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Save The Bays, Bahamas Waterkeeper applaud Mitchell’s comments to UN on preserving Bahamas marine environment
Submitted by DP&A   
Saturday, 27 September 2014 11:47

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Save The Bays, the fast-growing environmental movement dedicated to the protection of marine resources, joined forces this week with Bahamas Waterkeeper to praise Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell for remarks to the United Nations detailing what leaders of the two organizations called “the most important, powerful commitment yet by the current government to preserve that which makes The Bahamas the magical country it is -- our waters.”

The plaudits came within minutes of the release of Mitchell’s words that included a statement indicating government would push for 20% of the vast geographical area of the country to become part of a network of marine protected areas by the year 2020.

“The 20% by 2020 is an ambitious target that has been adopted by environmental groups and many who depend on the oceans for their survival, including Disney cruise lines, but this is the first time that the government of The Bahamas has publicly stated that it is committed to expand marine protected areas covering up to 20,000 square miles and we want to offer congratulations and 100% support,” said Joseph Darville, who serves as a director of Save The Bays and is the Bahamas Waterkeeper.

The push for adding marine protected areas is not new. The Nature Conservancy and the Bahamas National Trust, both community partners of Save The Bays, have long urged the expansion of such areas, noting protected areas have been proven to lead to greater fish, conch and crawfish stocks, opens doors for jobs and eco-friendly businesses and improves health of nearby communities.

The positive reaction followed Mitchell’s hard-hitting, specific three-minute address that touched on a wide range of subjects involving the waters that constitute 90% of the country’s make-up -- international accountability and cooperation, sports fishing, the battle against invasive species, the Bahamas’ progressive role in shark and sea turtle protection and ultimately, The Bahamas’ vulnerability to the rise in sea level and the impact of climate change.

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World Tourism Day 2014 - Statement by Minister of Tourism Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe
Submitted by BIS   
Saturday, 27 September 2014 11:00

World Tourism Day – celebrated every year on the date September 27 – has as its theme for 2014 “Tourism and Community Development”, and looks beyond the immediate economic impacts of job creation, toward sustainable socio-economic development through community engagement. At the grass roots level, the empowerment of the people and communities of host destinations through tourism means providing better opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, as well as greater levels of self-determination and involvement in decision making.

The Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organisation has reminded us on this occasion that the UNWTO Code of Ethics states that “local populations should be associated with tourism activities and share equitably in the economic, social and cultural benefits they generate”. The Vatican in its message for World Tourism Day 2014 has also noted that local communities must make tourism their own and be the main actors in tourism development.

These considerations are meaningful for The Bahamas, as a small island developing state, which long ago opted to make tourism one of the main pillars of its economic development. This year, we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the modern Ministry of Tourism, the 50th anniversary of a revamped approach to the industry, which accelerated The Bahamas’ national development.

We know that our success as a tourism destination is based on our people and our culture, heritage, festivals, food, music, arts and crafts. The Bahamianisation of the tourism product and the dissemination of the benefits of the tourism industry are guiding principles for the Ministry of Tourism. The Government of The Bahamas desires to see Bahamians, especially our young people, take advantage of the opportunity that tourism represents, be creative, and make the most of the business of tourism.

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