The Ministry of Financial Services and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday for the rollout of a trade information services desk and electronic portal that both groups insist will assist the domestic and international trade of locally produced goods.
CEO of the BCCEC Edison Sumner said yesterday at the signing that the development of the portal will help The Bahamas to diversify the economy while expanding trade.
“By being registered on the portal, companies will receive a significant profile so that they can be easily found by international companies seeking to create and develop local partnerships and linkages in trade and commerce,” said Sumner.
“The portal will serve as a vital business facilitation tool by reducing costs and time previously required to access trade information, and by extension improve the ease of doing business in The Bahamas by creating a one-stop shop or single window approach to doing business.”
The agreement is a public/private partnership between the BCCEC and the Ministry of Financial Services. The portal is being built by the International Trade Centre, a subsidiary organization of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and is being paid for by the European Union.
The signing took place at the Ministry of Financial Services, where Minister of Financial Services Hope Strachan hailed the portal as a collaboration between the public and private sector that will allow both sectors to grow.
“The parties recognize the importance of stimulating private sector development, by supporting local exporters and importers with market intelligence and information to facilitate opportunities for trade and access to international markets, made possible with the signing of international trade agreements,” said Strachan.
Vice Chairman of the BCCEC Mike Maura said the portal, which will list information on local businesses for free at the outset, will contain vital data and market information that could provide real-time statistics on whether the economy is expanding or contracting.
“I think it’s going to serve those students at the University of The Bahamas as they complete their economics studies and so forth to get a better understanding of the flow in and the flow out of commerce,” said Maura.
“It will also speak to the wide separation between import volumes and export volumes. It will speak to reversing that trade imbalance that we have that will impact cargo rates.”
This article first appeared in The Nassau Guardian on February 21st, 2017