Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Introducing the Provisional Licence: Starting a small business just got faster

#Nassau, May 24, 2019 – Bahamas – The Department of Inland Revenue (DIR) is continuing its efforts to improve ease of doing business by helping to speed up the process for entrepreneurs to start a new business. Provisional licences are now available for what the Department has termed “low-risk” businesses. It is granted as part of the business licence application process.

Low-risk businesses include home-based businesses, sole proprietors and other small businesses in non-regulated sectors. These types of businesses make up the bulk of small business start-ups. They are eligible for a provisional licence when they complete a first time application for a business licence.

“Our early ease of doing business initiatives have systematically targeted small businesses; they represent the majority of businesses and form the backbone of the economy. Earlier this year, we removed the fee for starting a new business. Next, DIR implemented a system to renew business licences in under 48-hours. Now, we have introduced a provisional licence to help entrepreneurs get started faster and easier,” said K. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

After submitting a completed business licence application, eligible businesses are able to get a Provisional Licence to operate for 90 days while they wait for approvals to be processed by other government agencies. Ultimately, new businesses will still need agency approvals from the National Insurance Board, Department of Environment Health, Department of Physical Planning and other relevant entities. However, while these processes are underway, the provisional licence will enable them to move forward with critical tasks to get up and running immediately.

“I am a firm believe that to the greatest extent possible, the general public should not be inconvenienced by our own inefficiencies. As we digitize more of our processes and integrate systems to streamline inter-agency communication we will be able to deliver more efficient services across government. In the meantime, we are implementing immediate measures to increase the ease of doing business now,” said Minister Turnquest.

Incorporated companies, non-Bahamian companies, and businesses with storefronts or operating in regulated industries are not eligible.

While provisional licences are not available to every business, they do cover a large majority of small businesses in the country.

Businesses that fall under one of the following categories, you are probably eligible for a Provisional Licence.

  • Admin Services
  • Apparel & Textile Manufacturing
  • Art & Craft Vendors
  • Audio-Visual Production
  • Civic Organizations
  • Clothing and Accessory Retail
  • Couriers and Messengers
  • Florists
  • Furniture Manufacturing
  • General Merchandise Retail
  • Housekeeping Services
  • Marketing and Public Relations
  • Printing and Publishing Services
  • Plumbing, Roofing, Fencing Contractors
  • Professional Associations
  • Small Contractor and Construction Service Providers

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