Minister of Financial Services, Ryan Pinder, held a brief meeting on August 24 in hopes to better understand the particular needs of Abaco and be prepared to adequately address manufacturers on the island when he returns in two weeks.
Mr. Pinder worked with the Abaco Chamber of Commerce to get a small group of manufacturers together for a preliminary visit “to hear the issues that pertain to manufacturing on Abaco, so we can better plan a comprehensive trip.”
“We’ll bring a technical delegation and actually visit plants and operations of Abaconians in industry and manufacturing to see what they are doing essentially,” he said.
He said he is aware of a substantial amount of industry and manufacturing in Abaco and that there is a lot of diversity here in Abaco.
He intends to visit the various facilities so that his ministry, which is tasked with the is responsibility for industrial development and manufacturing , understands “how we can, one-on-one, help each and every one of them have opportunities to expand, develop, be more efficient and ultimately succeed.”
“It’s about promoting the economic development of the country and it’s about doing that island by island … and to really have that focus on the different islands.
He noted that the prior administration had amended the act putting a five year time limit on duty free concessions for manufacturers and charged a lower rate of duty thereafter.
“We felt that was a penalty to manufacturers especially as manufacturers have a low profit margin, and that if we repealed that restriction, going back to what it used to be – a perpetual exemption – it would stimulate the economy, and industry and manufacturing in The Bahamas.
He said the amendment has already been passed in both the House of Assembly and the Senate and is now going through the bureaucratic process of becoming law.
“So we are hopeful that in the next few weeks, manufacturers in Abaco and The Bahamas will begin to see their duty concessions restored and will feel more comfortable and more confident in the success and future of their businesses,” he said
Mr. Pinder said his ministry does not want to be a “bureaucratic institution that just processes licenses but we want to be able to understand our clientele and understand what we can do to help them out.”
“If we don’t have a strong economy The Bahamas as a whole struggles,” he said.