January 13, 2012
January 25, 2012
“Never let a crisis go to waste.”
That was the message from Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing as he spoke at the 21st annual Bahamas Business Outlook, held at the Wyndham Nassau resort yesterday.
The minister was referring to the worldwide global financial crisis which, he says, The Bahamas weathered well thanks to considerable economic momentum going into the recession. Bolstered by construction projects such as the Baha Mar mega resort and the Albany development, Minister Laing said that the economy was recovering well and that the recession had given government the chance to develop long-term strategies for growth.
“I remain bullish on our future,” he told attendees. “To me, this recent crisis presented us with extraordinary opportunities.”
“The weight of the crisis continues to bear down on us, although with less force than it did at its peak.”
Legislative reform such as the new Business Licence Act, Securities Act and Executive Foundations Act combined with exploring new markets has helped the government mitigate the worst effects of the recession, according to Minister Laing.
“We have improved prospects in the financial services sector due to strategic targeting in Brazil and Asia,” he said.
The Minister also said that the government was forecasting growth of 2.5 to 2.8 per cent in the country’s economy this year and expects to sustain those levels with a 2.4 per cent rise in 2013.
He also said that The Bahamas debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio was 58 per cent, which was “relatively low” in comparison with other countries in the region and pledged to improve on this through reform and controlled spending.
“We have to have a charge towards rebalancing,” he explained. “There are going to have to be some reforms in our fiscal regime.”