Describes how major projects are secured and financed. Explains activities of the multilateral development banks in and other aid-funded projects.
Selling to the Government
In September 2021, the government enacted the Public Procurement Act (2021), which overhauls the administration of government contracts to improve transparency and accountability and launched an e-procurement and suppliers registry system. While the registry system is in place, the Public Procurement Act has yet to be fully implemented. Senior government officials have called for the legislation to be amended to reflect government capabilities and strengthened with new regulations. Though functional, most agencies with large procurement budgets do not utilize the existing e-procurement portal or registry. Senior Officials purport that the existing e-procurement portal requires modernization to improve functionality.
Companies complain that the tender process for public contracts is inconsistent, and allege it is difficult to obtain information on the status of bids. In 2022, the administration confirmed its intention to amend several good governance laws, including the Public Procurement Act, but has not provided a timeline.
The government has also committed to procurement rules under the terms of its membership in the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union and the Economic Partnership Agreement with the United Kingdom but is not yet a party to the WTO and the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).
Businesses intending to market goods or services to the Bahamian government are advised to seek the advice of the U.S. Embassy at an early stage. Embassy Nassau is often aware of procurement opportunities and will distribute updates via the Department of Commerce. Companies should ensure they are in regular contact with the Department of Commerce and their contact information is up to date.
U.S. companies bidding on government tenders may also qualify for formal U.S. government advocacy via the Advocacy Center, a unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration. The Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on foreign government public sector contracts. The Advocacy Center works closely with the global U.S. Commercial Service network and other inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Consult Advocacy for Foreign Government Contracts for additional information.
Financing of Projects
The Bahamian government requires potential investors to have financing in place when applying for approval of project development or investment in The Bahamas. Projects can be financed by private and debt equity; bank loans; retained earnings; development bank financing; international private capital; bonds and bilateral and multilateral loans, and grants. Local banks will provide financing to U.S business clients after stringent due diligence.
The Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) supports U.S. exports through export credit insurance, guarantees, and loans. The government of The Bahamas can seek an EXIM line of credit to support investments.
Bahamian government or funding from regional Development Banks
The national social security program, the National Insurance Board, and international lending agencies such the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank have financed projects in The Bahamas over the past 20 years.
Multilateral Development Banks and Financing Government Sales
Many government financed public works projects are facilitated through borrowing from Multilateral Development Banks (MDB). A helpful guide for working with the MDBs is the Guide to Doing Business with the Multilateral Development Banks. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (USDOC) International Trade Administration (ITA) has a Foreign Commercial Service Officer stationed at each of the five different Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs): the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the World Bank. Learn more by contacting the Advocacy Liaison for World Bank or the Advocacy Liaison Website for Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)