Sen. The Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, QC, Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs says modernizing government services is essential, especially if The Bahamas is to tap into the potential of young Bahamians, the future generation. *”I believe that with the right conditions, talented young Bahamians are poised to change the world. Improvements in the capacity of government to deliver services will not only support innovation and entrepreneurship, but will also increase productivity and create cost savings for businesses, simplify citizen interactions with government, reduce the cost of the public sector and increase government revenues. “*
Sen. Maynard-Gibson used this opportunity to tout efforts by the Registrar General Department and the Office of the Attorney-General, along with partners in the private sector, to improve the ease of doing business in The Bahamas and to transform e-Government platforms to eliminate costly and time consuming red tape. She spoke to the Companies e-Service Initiative launched on January 5, 2016 – a campaign to move the incorporation of companies and the paying of incorporation fees all online.
Phase-1b of the initiative will go even further, allowing for multiple names to be reserved, ordering of multiple documents, payment of stamp duty, regular company/non agent payment opportunities and the uploading of Officers and Directors is partially completed. The work will continue with the integration of National Insurance Board records to ensure that information is shared across platforms and government processes, making our work more accurate and more efficient. Before the end of the year Phase-2 is expected to be completed — which will allow for the execution of other company services such as dissolutions and the obtaining of Certificates of Good Standing, and changes in company ownership all online.
The start of Phase-1 alone is credited with generating $11 million in revenue by the Companies e-Service Initiative. *”We are optimistic that by modernizing government services and improving the ease of doing business in The Bahamas, more young entrepreneurs will be able to pursue their dreams and set up successful business ventures. This includes those aspiring entrepreneurs on the Family Islands who will no longer have to come to Nassau to register their business, a process that can be time-consuming and costly.”*
The Attorney General was speaking on the occasion of a two day seminar, “[Putting The Bahamas Ahead of the Wave: New Avenues to Embrace Innovation, Transparency and Service Delivery](http://events.iadb.org/calendar/eventDetail.aspx?lang=En&id=5142).” This dialogue, along with partners at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is focusing on how to build on the successes already achieved, and participants include the National Development Plan Secretariat, senior public service officers, private sector representatives, specialists from the IDB Institutional Capacity of the State Department and The Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Colombia. *”Our priorities for this dialogue – better organizing government service delivery, improving transparency and internal controls, and enhancing e-Government and civil registration – are organically connected with the work of the [Vision 2040: National Development Plan](http://www.vision2040bahamas.org/). This signals our commitment to moving from identifying our needs and the opportunities available to us, to implementing real change.”*
For the government, these concerns are central as it moves towards building a modern Bahamas. This shift in policy to strategically think about services delivery, along with wide-ranging reforms to the Public Financial Management System and the implementation of new information technology to enhance government services were a primary focus during various contributions to the 2016 2017 Budget Debate. Sen. Maynard-Gibson in particular spoke to how these substantive changes to the way business is done in The Bahamas *”will make us more competitive in the region and remove the red tape that so often stifles entrepreneurship. This government is working to ensure that we make it easier for young Bahamians to pursue their dreams of entrepreneurship, as they help to drive global innovation.”*
The IDB says the objective of this High Level Seminar is two-fold. First, it will highlight best practices and international standards in the area of transparency and service delivery, with concrete examples from the region and globally. Second, it will ignite a brainstorming conversation with key stakeholders to identify new avenues in which the country can move forward with the implementation of innovative frameworks to better service Bahamians.