Bahamas, July 13, 2017 – Nassau – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest said the reality of e-commerce provides tremendous opportunity for businesses, and the Government must ensure that the country’s educational systems allow persons to be able to take advantage of these opportunities.
DPM Turnquest said The Bahamas, like many other countries in the region is well connected. In 2016, the country boasted the following statistics:
- Mobile voice penetration rate of 95 subscribers per 100 inhabitants;
- Mobile data penetration of 53 subscribers per 100 inhabitants; and
- Residential fixed broadband penetration of 74 subscribers per 100 inhabitants.
He recalled the days when persons had to pay a bill, they would have to drive to the location and stand in a long line, or if they wanted to send money to a loved one, they would have to drive to the bank and standing on a long line.
“Now, with the advancements in technology such as mobile banking and e-transactions this can all be done from the comfort of your chair in your office or simply by using your mobile phone,” the DPM said at the International Telecommunications Union’s Global Symposium of Regulators held at the Atlantis Resort, Tuesday, July 11, 2017.
He explained that as an entrepreneur, he is always pleased to see businesses embracing technology to reinvent themselves.
“In The Bahamas, I have witnessed the courier industry move from simple face to face interactions to integrated e-commerce systems which utilise technology to track packages, send notifications, interact with customers and receive payments. This is progress.”
He noted however, that while the new advances in technology are important and can provide tremendous opportunities for growth and development, everyone should also be aware of address potential threats.
“Just a few years ago in The Bahamas, a local business establishment reported that its website was hacked. The perpetrators held the business’ online portal for ransom in an attempt to extort funding.”
DPM Turnquest added that around the world, there have been similar attacks and hackings at institutions which form the backbone of any economy such as Financial Institutions, Central Banks and electricity companies where in some cases, information is lost, potentially forever, or stolen and publicly released.
He said the G7s 2017 Communique from Finance Ministers paragraphs 14 and 15 highlight the importance of mitigation of Cyber Attacks. The paragraphs read:
“In light of the increasing digitalisation of financial services and the evolving cyber threats landscape, it is important to pursue effective approaches for assessment of cyber security at the financial firm and sector level as well….
“We recognise that cyber incidents represent a growing threat for our economies and that appropriate economy-wide policy responses are needed. No point of cyberspace can be absolutely secure as long as cyber threats persist in the surrounding environment.”
The DPM explained that as these attacks become more frequent, they severely damage the level of trust placed on our institutions, industry and even technology itself, resulting in losses to economies.
“No investor is interested in trading with a country or depositing funds in a financial institution prone to cyber attacks. We must jealously protect our digital footprint and ensure the highest level of data protection available.”
Story by: Llonella Gilbert
Press Release: BIS
Photo Credit: Jonesbahamas