The Trade Unit
The Trade and Industry Unit is responsible for:
- Negotiating and implementing bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements;
- Administering the Industries Encouragement Act;
- Expanding national export capacity through concessions;
- Coordinating the government’s trade response;
- Providing Business Support Organizations (BSO) with market intelligence on areas of export interest;
- Building public awareness on trade agreements;
- Facilitating linkages between the manufacturing and enterprises involved in the blue, green and orange economies sector;
- Collaborating with the Bahamas Trade Commission; and
- Implementing the National Trade Policy
National Trade Policy (NTP)
The National Trade Policy is a medium-term strategy prepared with the objective of improving the Country’s trade performance. It identifies challenges and potential in trade of goods, services, and proposes ways that trade might be improved in those areas to achieve a diversified, resilient, sustainable and inclusive trade performance for The Bahamas.
The NTP was developed around initiatives set out in the National Development Plan, The Blueprint for Change and Economic Plan.
The Policy further develops the National Development Plan (NDP) goal of creating advantages for Bahamian entrepreneurs, exporters, and consumers.
Similar to the Blueprint for Change The National Trade Policy includes specific support for the colored economy in order to increase exports in Junkanoo culture, straw work, wood carving, film, and music. It is also structured to create a robust Bahamian footprint abroad, diversifying exports targeting the creative sector, agriculture, and untapped marine products.
The current governance Economic Plan also supports the orange, blue and green economy through: –
Providing education and training for Bahamian creatives and help persons obtain intellectual property for creators for export regionally and internationally. The National Trade Policy addresses issues with enacting and implementing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which the government sees as specific importance for the creative sector export efforts;
Enact legislation to improve marine safety through fishery practices and environmental impact; and
Supporting the agriculture industry for local and export consumption through funding and offering incentives and training to farmers.
Click the link here to the National Trade Policy. The Bahamas National Trade Policy – The Ministry of Economic Affairs (moea.gov.bs)
Industry Encouragement Act (IEA)
The Industry Encouragement Act commenced on December 18th, 1970, encourages establishment and development of small to medium sized manufacturers by offering certain tax exemptions.
Head of Department
Brickell Pinder – Director of Trade
Tia Hanna – Project Officer
Sharif Jibrilu – Financial and Trade Officer
Rochelle Smith – First Assistant Secretary
The Trade Commission
Mission Statement:- To canvas the Bahamian business community to understand their concerns with regards to various agreements where there is a potential that The Bahamas would be a party to (WTO, EU-EPA and successor agreements to the CBI and CaribCan) and to inform them about the developments in the negotiations regarding membership. The Commission also educates the wider public about trade negotiations and the government’s participation in them.
Key Functions of the Bahamas Trade Commission:
- Receive regular confidential briefings from public officials and Ministers about matters of concerns with respect to the various trade negotiations.
- Arrange private and confidential meetings with representatives of the business community and individual business to understand what their concerns are about the various trade arrangements.
- Present periodic reports to the Minister with responsibility for Trade about matters of concern among the business community.
- In close cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, lead a public awareness campaign about trade agreements and trade negotiations.
List of Members of the Trade Commission:
Mr. Philip Galanis – Chairman
Senator The Honorable Barry Griffin – Deputy Chairman
Senator The Honorable Darren Pickstock
Mr. Andrew Alexiou
Ms. D’Krizia Bartlette
Mr. Ian Cargill
Ms. Kemera Cartwright
Mrs. Cherise Cox-Nottage
Ms. Japhier Gardiner
Mrs. R. Annemarie Rahming
The Financial Services Unit
Having spent over 80 years providing a diversified selection of innovative Financial Services products to local and international clients, The Bahamas’ Financial Services sector stands out as a global leader with the legal and financial expertise to provide the highest level of service.
The Bahamas Advantage
The Bahamas is a stable, robust, well regulated financial and business centre. These competitive advantages, together with our common law tradition, an attractive tax and cost structure, and an investor-friendly business climate, have catapulted The Bahamas to its household name status in international business and capital development.
One of our major inherent advantages as a jurisdiction is our strategic location, just off the coast of the United States America. We are endowed with a prime and accessible location that makes The Bahamas a natural hub for regional and international trade. However, location alone isn’t everything.
Our Government is committed to leveraging our geographical strengths by investing in improving the ease of doing business to ensure that international and Bahamian investors alike have the necessary facilities to conduct business smoothly and efficiently.
Additionally, our Government looks to support the trade agenda with industries, such as our Financial Services industry, to ensure that the required services are present to do business effectively.
Training for Financial Services
The Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS) promotes quality training and education programs for the financial services sector. It is both innovative and responsive to the expanding needs of the business and financial community and works to develop creative synergy to foster an enhance sustained growth within the industry.”
The Institute is a not-for-profit institution established in 1974 to support the Bahamas’ financial services industry development.
The Bahamas Financial Services Board (visit their website)
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit (ADR)
The Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ‘ADR’, Unit is responsible for pursuing the Ministry’s mandate to establish The Bahamas as a centre for international arbitration and other ADR processes. ADR typically refers to a wide range of dispute resolution processes and techniques that can be utilised to settle disputes, with the help of a third party and without initiating litigation. ADR can include negotiation, mediation, arbitration and construction adjudication. ADR is generally faster and less expensive than traditional court proceedings. Additionally, as it helps to preserve business relationships, it is the preferred dispute resolution mechanism in the international business community. This is directly connected to the ‘ease of doing business’, also part of the mandate of the Ministry.
The ADR Unit was formed in mid-August 2020 and is led by a Consultant. The ADR Unit is responsible for the establishment of The Bahamas as a leading seat for ADR. Since its inception, the Consultant leading the ADR Unit, has developed a comprehensive Strategic Plan that sets out the ADR Unit’s goals and objectives which includes reform of the legislative framework to support ADR in The Bahamas, the establishment of The Bahamas Arbitration Centre in addition to the promotion of The Bahamas as the jurisdiction of choice for ADR.
For the last two decades, The Bahamas has worked towards becoming a centre for international arbitration and ADR. In 2009, The Bahamas passed two key pieces of legislation to assist in the modernization of its ADR legislative framework – (i) The Arbitration Act 2009 (“the AA”) and (ii) The Arbitration (Foreign Arbitral Awards) 2009 (“the FAA”). These pieces of legislation updated the near century old arbitration legislation and incorporated the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York, 10th June 1958) (the “New York Convention”).
Since the introduction of the AA and the FAA, The Bahamas has become a Member State of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”), which is an inter-governmental organisation that provides a variety of dispute resolution services to the international community. The Bahamas has also been a Member State of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Convention (“ICSID”) since 1995. Both ICSID and the PCA are important arbitral institutions and are integral to the continued advancement of international arbitration and ADR for The Bahamas.
Insofar as it relates to the reform of the legislative framework to support and promote alternative dispute resolution, The International Commercial Arbitration Bill 2023 and The Arbitration (Amendment) Bill 2023 have been prepared with the input of local and international industry stakeholders. Both the International Commercial Arbitration Bill 2023 and The Arbitration (Amendment) Bill 2023 reflect global best practices in addition to innovative features like the Permanent Court of Arbitration as an appointing authority and the inclusion of trust arbitration provisions respectively. The Bills were passed in the House of Parliament in April 2023 and thereafter passed in the Senate in May 2023, to shortly be Gazetted and thereafter enacted.
Besides the newly passed arbitration legislation, the ADR Unit is now finalising the Bills to support international and domestic mediation that have been drafted in the spirit of the UNCITRAL Mediation Framework and the Singapore Convention on Mediation. We expect that these Bills will shortly be circulated for public consultations. Additionally, we expect to sign on to the Singapore Convention on Mediation so that mediated dispute settlements can be enforced in The Bahamas, like arbitral awards are under The Arbitration (Foreign Arbitral Awards) Act 2009. This also improves The Bahamas’ value proposition as a preferred ADR jurisdiction and supports the newly introduced Supreme Court Rules that provide for the use of mediation as part of case management.
In addition to the reform of the legislative framework to support ADR, the Unit has also sought to collaborate with industry stakeholders both locally and internationally. As part of this collaboration, and in the spirit of partnership, the Unit will also form an Alternative Dispute Resolution Council to be composed of members from industry, other governmental agencies and the Ministry. This Council will assist the Ministry in the execution of its mandate to establish The Bahamas as a centre for international arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution processes.
- The Bahamas Financial Services Board;
- The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Bahamas Branch;
- The Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners, Bahamas Chapter;
- Association of International Banks and Trust Companies;
- Bahamas Investment Authority;
- Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation;
- Bahamas Bar Association;
- Insurance Commission;
- Securities Commission;
- Compliance Commission; and
- The Central Bank of The Bahamas.
For more information on the work and progress of the ADR Unit:
Ministry of Economic Affairs
3rd Floor, Campbell Maritime Centre
West Bay Street
Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas
Telephone: +1 242 328 5071/6
Facsimile: +1 242 328 8055
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Council
The Council will be composed of members from industry, including:- (i) The Bahamas Bar Association, (ii) The Bahamas Financial Services Board, (iii) The Bahamas Maritime Authority, (iv) The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Bahamas Branch, (v) The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, (vi) The Grand Bahamas Port Authority, (vii) representatives from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Education, and (viii) three members from the private sector. The ADR Council will serve to advise the Ministry in relation to ADR.
Bahamas National Statistics Institute (BNSI)
(Formerly the Department of Statistics)
Vision & Mission Statement
Vision: To be the leading resource centre and provider of high-quality statistics, easily accessible to our clients, and responsive to their needs.
Mission: To ensure that the Government of The Bahamas, Businesses and People are never hampered in their activities by any inadequacies of statistics, their recent trends or their interpretation; and in particular, to ensure that the managers of the Bahamian economy in the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and elsewhere, never lack adequate statistics nor argue about them.
History of The Bahamas National Statistical Institute (BNSI)
The Department of Statistics was established in 1968 and was the Government Agency in The Bahamas mandated by law to collect, process, analyze and disseminate statistics. The Department was governed by the “The Statistics Act of 1973” up until June 2021, when ‘The Statistics Act 2021 was enacted in July, 2021.
During this time the Department of Statistics was subject to the Minister of Finance and functioned under the direct supervision of the Director of Statistics.
With the passing and enactment of The Statistics Act, 2021 on July 1, 2021, the Bahamas National Statistical Institute (“BNSI”) was established, and its Board officially appointed. The Act also made provision for the formation of a National Statistical System (“NSS”) to facilitate the establishment of standards for collecting, compiling, analysing and publishing official statistics. The Institute falls within the purview of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and is now headed by a Managing Director, who reports to the Institute’s Board of Directors. The Chair of the Board of Directors reports to Minister of Economic Affairs.
The Appointed Members of the Board of Directors are:-
A Gabriella Fraser – Chairperson
Zhivargo Laing – Deputy Chair
John Rolle – Member
Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson – Member
Kelsie Dorsett – Member
Dr. Anthony Hamilton – Member
Tami Francis – Member
Elise Delancy – Member
Simon Wilson – Member
Nerissa Gibson – Member/Interim Secretary
Tameka Burton – Board Secretary
In accordance with the Statistics Act 2021, the Bahamas National Statistical Institute (“BNSI”) is mandated to carry out all functions related to the collection, compilation, analysis, and dissemination of official statistics. Notably, it is now fully responsible for coordinating the national statistical system and ensuring that the production of official statistics adheres to international standards, principles, and recommendations.
Functions of the Institute
The functions of the Institute are:-
- to collect, compile, analyze and disseminate official statistics;
- to conduct censuses and surveys as may be necessary from time to time in relation to the matters specified in the First Schedule;
- to promote, develop and maintain a National Statistical System in The Bahamas;
- to direct, monitor, and evaluate the operations of the National Statistical System;
- to carry out the National Statistical Strategy;
- to make recommendations to the Board with respect to the annual budget of the Institute;
- to ensure compliance with international best practices on the production of official statistics;
- to liaise with other countries and regional and international organizations in relation to statistical matters;
- to collaborate with individuals, firms, partnerships, associations, unincorporated bodies, companies, statutory corporations, ministries, departments, and agencies of Government in the collection, compilation, and publication of statistics;
- to establish a fee structure for publications and data sets that may be produced and compiled by the Institute and effect charges related to the publication and data sets; and
- to do all things which may be necessary or incidental to the discharge of any of its functions and powers under the Statistics Act.
Bahamas National Statistical Resources
In the execution of its mandate the BNSI publishes official statistics on various subject matters as outlined below:-
Consumer Price Index
Census of Population & Housing
Labour Market Information
Statistics (Nassau), Department of
Bellagio Plaza, Palmdale
P.O. Box N-3904
Nassau, The Bahamas
Phone: (242) 604-4000
Fax: (242) 604-4090/91
Statistics (North Bahamas Branch)
P.O. Box F42561
Grand Bahama, The Bahamas
Phone: (242) 602-9030
- Tourism Today
- Economic Commission for Latin America & Caribbean (ECLAC)
- United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSD)
- Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
- World Bank
- Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- Central Bank of The Bahamas
Related Legislation: The Statistics Act, 2021
The Digitalisation and Transformation Unit (DTU)
The Digital Transformation Unit (DTU) is a unit of the Department of Digitization and Transformation in the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This unit is responsible for implementing the Government Digital Transformation to Strengthen Competitiveness project, which is a five (5) year, multimillion dollar transformation initiative. The objective of the initiative is to increase the ease of doing business in The Bahamas and within the Bahamian government.
The DTU created the foundation for robust and secure national digital transformation by drafting legislation for eGovernment and to create the Ministry of Information, Technology and Innovation. Through a partnership with the International Telecommunication Union, the IT arm of the United Nations, the country’s inaugural National Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CIRT) was implemented, a National CIRT Manager was engaged, and we are currently finalizing the draft of the country’s first National Cybersecurity Strategy. The project for the implementation of a National Electronic Identification System is in progress and the DTU continues discussions with the Royal Bahamas Police Force regarding enhancements to the Cyberforensics Lab.
The DTU works in close partnership with government agencies to implement digital transformation and has launched fifty-five (55) services on the MyGateway Portal. MyGateway is a digital product that allows ministries, departments and agencies to serve their clients quickly and seamlessly. Built by a team of local developers, it is a safe, centralized and secure way to request and pay for government services online and to date has over 95, 500 registered users. More information available at https://mygateway.gov.bs/.
The work of the DTU continues to have a far-reaching impact on The Bahamas, helping to improve the lives of citizens, residents and all clients of the Government of The Bahamas. The accomplishments over the past year have gained regional awareness, resulting in recognition for the country and its ground-breaking digital transformation efforts.
The Bahamas Bureau of Standards & Quality (BBSQ)
The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) is a body corporate by virtue of the Standards Act (2006) and the Weights and Measures Act (2006) within the Ministry of Financial Services. The BBSQ’s primary function is the formulation and adoption of standards, in addition to the administration of a legal metrology service, provision of calibration services, certification services, or consultancy services. The BBSQ also has a regulatory responsibility for the operation of a legal metrology service, or for official controls including market surveillance of food and non-food products.
“To be the National principal authority for standards and quality.”
“Advance national development through the facilitation and promotion of quality services in standardization, metrology and conformity assessment to protect the consumer, enhance international trade and competitiveness of goods and services.”
BBSQ operates as an independent organization responsible to the people of The Bahamas and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. We abide by the highest ethical standards and have the resolution to inform our stakeholders on matters relating to standards and quality. Our core values to help us fulfill our mission and maintain high ethical standards are as follows:
- Professional Development • Networking
The functions of the BBSQ:
- Encourage the use of standard specifications with a view to improving the technical processes and methods used in the industries of the government;
- Formulate for the Minister, in accordance with the Minister’s directions, specifications for commodities, processes and practices, as the minister may from time to time request;
- Formulate a national standard or adopt a standard at the request of any Ministry;
- Provide advice on request to any Ministry for the preparation of technical regulations;
- Make recommendations to the minister on matters concerning standards and certification;
- Formulate guides, recommendations and codes of practice for processes and practices used in the manufacturing and service industries;
- Participate in the activities of other national, regional or international standards bodies that have objectives or functions similar or relevant to the objectives or functions of the BBSQ;
- Perform any function, arising from the accession of the Commonwealth of
The Bahamas to international treaties, conventions or bodies including membership in CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards & Quality (CROSQ), which relates to standardisation, harmonisation, certification or inspection; so far as this does not interfere with the functions of other government agencies or bodies;
- Certify any commodity, process or practice as conforming with Bahamian Standard Specification, or with any standard of another Member State of the CROSQ
or with any other recognised published specification;
- Determine, licence and supervise the
use of standard marks in relation to any commodity, process or practice on behalf of itself or of any other body;
- Arrange for the testing and analysis of commodities;
- Have responsibility for monitoring compliance with national mandatory standards;
- Be the national body responsible for matters related to legal metrology in The Bahamas;
- Act as consultants in the field of standards and provide advisory services to industry, including any service industry;
- Be the WTO TBT National Enquiry Point for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; and
- Adopt CROSQ standards as our national standards.
Dr. Renae L. Ferguson-Bufford, Director
Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ)
The Source River Centre
1000 Bacardi Road
P.O. Box: N-4843
Nassau, N.P., The Bahamas
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (242) 362-1748-55
Fax: (242) 362-9172
Small Business Development Centre
Established in September 2018, Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) is an initiative that advocates for and supports the evolution of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in The Bahamas. The SBDC is the result of a partnership between the Government of The Bahamas through the Ministry of Finance, University of The Bahamas (UB) and Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC). Through this powerful union, we have identified incredible resources to help Bahamians start and grow their business while fulfilling their dreams.
The SBDC connects entrepreneurs, our communities and our company to drive the development of a robust, resilient economy through five core services:
- Training and
- Access to Capital
To date, the SBDC has facilitated $76+ million dollars in funding to approximately 1,977 clients across 15 islands of The Bahamas.
MSMEs are the backbone of the Bahamian economy because they employ 50% of the workforce and generate 20% of the country’s annual revenue; therefore, when MSMEs succeed the community benefits. An MSME is classified as any majority Bahamian owned business that generates less than 5 million in sales and employs less than 50 people. By giving MSMEs access to training, funding, consulting, and networking opportunities, we seek to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. The SBDC model is in use around the hemisphere to benefit small businesses and generate economic impact that: creates new jobs, increases revenues, strengthens, and diversifies the formal economy, and promotes country stability and growth.
Access Accelerator is an initiative that advocates for and supports the evolution of MSMEs in The Bahamas. Access Accelerator aims to increase the ability of the MSME sector to provide employment, diversify wealth and drive the development of a robust and resilient economy.
Equipping and Empowering MSMEs in The Bahamas.
Theme for 2023
Engage People, Expedite Process and Enhance Product.
The Department of Consumer Affairs
The Consumer Affairs Division is mandated to enforce and monitor three primary pieces of legislation which focus on service to the community: the Price Control Act, 1971 and its Regulation; the Rent Control Act, 1975 and its Regulations; and the Consumer Protection Act, 2006 (learn more).
Functions of the Consumer Affairs Division
Its functions are to:
- serve as prosecutor over any violations over the Price Control Act;
- monitor shops and stores on a rotational basis;
- respond to consumer complaints;
- police stores daily to ensure that merchants are in compliance with the law, and
- increase consumer education and awareness.
Officers of the Consumer Affairs Unit serve as agents for the Rent Control Board and the Prices Commission to ensure that consumers who may experience challenges with the providers of goods and services can find redress at the Commission.