The Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie delivered Opening Remarks at the 2016 Accountants Week series of seminars today.

The [Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants]( (BICA) is partnering with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to host the seminars under the theme, ‘Capitalising on Our Past and Building Opportunities for the Future’, and PM Christie noted that such partnerships build on the credibility of BICA. He spoke to the role the accounting sector plays in the country, noting that accountants are on the “front line” of The Bahamas’ business and commercial entities – and an integral part of the inner workings of the country’s firms and government enterprises.

The Institute now boasts over 500 members, with virtually 100% ownership of the firms practicing accounting in The Bahamas, *”the true meaning of a Bahamas for Bahamians”* according to Prime Minister Christie. *”We bear witness to all of the major international networks of accounting firms present in The Bahamas – led by Bahamian Principals. These same firms assist in the development of our future leaders, through the promotion of academic excellence, and continuing professional development – the latter being evidenced this week.”*

BICA was reminded of its responsibility to maintain the highest professional standards and conduct, exemplifying the behaviors set out in its adopted code of ethics and making use of strengthened disciplinary powers contained in new legislation. *“Your role as gatekeeper mandates that you maintain the trust and admiration for the stakeholders you are charged with serving.”*

The important role of BICA necessitates strong collaboration between the Government of The
Bahamas and the private sector BICA, a relationship that Government is proud to not only maintain but also enhance, Prime Minister Christie observed. *”My Government has and continues to welcome the input and counsel of BICA’s well respected personalities and members on topics ranging from economic development and governance to financial management of specific projects.”*

**Competitiveness Council to be Created**

In the context of reporting on the nation’s rankings in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, the Prime Minister confirmed that the Government plans to establish a Competitiveness Council as a Public Private Sector Partnership (PPP), as it looks to address a number of issues impacting the conduct of business in The Bahamas. The Council is expected to “harness the analysis and recommendations of the National Development Plan”.