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Bahamas: Minnis Defends Changes To Business Licence Act

MONTHS after passing amendments to the Business Licence Act, which angered many in the private sector, the government made a U-turn on the decision by reverting to the former regulations yesterday.

In his defence of the move, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis insisted the decision reaffirmed the government’s commitment to making operating a business easier for Bahamians in their own country.

Dr Minnis told Parliament business owners will now face prompter service and less government bureaucracy.

For his part, Finance Minister K Peter Turnquest said officials realised the practical challenges with the amendments implemented on May 30 regarding the practice of some business owners in commingling business and personal accounts. He advised against the practice, saying there should be separation.

However, before the Business Licence Amendment Act 2018 could be passed there were several heated arguments between government and Official Opposition Members of Parliament. At one point, House Speaker Halson Moultrie was forced to stand to his feet to gain order in the House. In this instance, Elizabeth MP Dr Duane Sands was contributing to the amendment, but was heckled by a seated opposition member.

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