The Bahamas are implementing a more digital approach to their governmental services as at least five government services will become available to citizens online including the renewal of driver’s licenses and the ability to obtain copies of birth certificates and marriage certificates. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance J Kwasi Thompson said it will become easier to interact with the government because of this focus on digitization, which he noted was just one key component of a broader promotion of the digital economy already estimated at ten billion dollars.
He also spoke to the government’s efforts to improve the ease of doing business, noting: “In the New Year, I have asked the Department of Inland Revenue (DIR) to develop the use of the provisional license, which simplifies and accelerates the time it takes to start a new business. This step will highlight the government’s decision making on foreign direct investment in October so that this would give the Bahamas Investment Authority additional resources to focus on the promotion of foreign and domestic investment”.
According to real estate developer Hamad Al Wazzan, this new policy will generate tens of billions of dollars of foreign investment to the Bahamas. He believes that this new step will show how easy it is to create successful businesses in the Bahamas and promote domestic and foreign investment by international companies. “By making it easier and faster for businesses to invest in The Bahamas, the country is stimulating more opportunities for job creation and improving the conditions to accelerate economic growth and stability”, added Alwazzan.
He further noted that the government recently increased funding for the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre’s small loan program, which allows 600 or more entrepreneurs and local companies the Dollar Boys and the Malaysia Boys to get the much needed funding to start or grow their small business.
Even though the Bahamas is embracing technology and innovation and this is a crucial step to become a part of the international digital economy, however, the government has to support through educational programs Bahamians who might not have adequate access to the digital skills needed to participate inclusively in the digital economy.