The Mid-year Budget debate got into full swing during March with Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis delivering his contribution to Parliament towards the end of the month. The Prime Minister emphasized the successes of his administration during its first term in office since being elected last May. He said the economy was continuing to grow and that the government would push forward its plans for fiscal reform.
He also said that the government intends to make provisions in the new budget year for substantial expansion in capital investment.
“Growth-friendly and growth enhancing public investments will need to be a particular priority,” he continued. “We will be fully cognizant, however, of the need to arrange for the fiscally prudent means of financing such investment, including an appropriate role for public-private partnerships.”
“We intend to make provision in the new budget year for substantial expansion in the capital investment of The Bahamas government, to bring our national infrastructure up to standard.”
The new budget year begins July 1, 2018.
In an effort to increase foreign trade and investment, Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Grand Bahama, and Edison Sumner, CEO of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), led a delegation of Bahamian public and private sector officials on a trade mission to the Washington DC and Baltimore area of the US last month.
The trade mission explored the promotion of collaborative business links, both at the national and state level in the DC and Maryland area, so as to enhance the prospects for Bahamian trade and investment with the Washington DC area.
This was accomplished through the provision of opportunities for high-level and sector specific dialogue, networking and matchmaking.
The mission focused on financial services; tourism and creative industry; agriculture and fisheries; shipping and logistics; brewing (rum and beer); ICT and real estate. In addition to exchanging information on national foreign investment and tourism opportunities in The Bahamas, industries specific to Grand Bahama such as technology, transshipment and manufacturing/industrial were also highlighted for investor consideration.
The BCCEC also signed Memoranda of Understanding with both the DC and Baltimore Chambers of Commerce, providing the framework for long-term collaborative efforts towards business development and enhanced two-way trade.
One area of the Bahamian economy that is already experiencing growth is tourism, with visitor figures rebounding to pre-recession levels.
Last month, Nassau Airport Development Co (NAD) reported that air arrivals at Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) during December 2017 and January 2018 were the highest in the company’s 11-year history of managing the facility and exceeded pre-recession travel levels for the first time in a decade.
Some 151,454 passengers landed at LPIA in December, 140,314 in January, the largest numbers since the pre-recession holidays of 2007/2008. December’s increase was the highest in a single month, up nearly 15,000 over the second-best year a decade earlier.
Preliminary results for March are even more impressive, up by 24 per cent over 2017 arrivals.
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