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Newsletter Vol.12, No 6.

TBI monthly news in review - October 17, 2018

Following on from the previous month’s debate, the 2018/19 Budget was passed by the House of Assembly mid-June.

The Budget, which took effect July 1, included a fiscal provision to increase VAT to 12 per cent.

In his National Budget Debate Contribution, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis defended the VAT increase, saying that the current administration was “getting the financial house in order” and that this was a “responsible and transparent budget”.

He said that the the government was adopting a “strategic and balanced” approach in budgets and financial management.

Key points of the budget include:

  • Cutting public expenditure;
  • Major investments in critical infrastructure;
  • Improving the ease of doing business;
  • Increasing revenue though more domestic investment and foreign direct investment;
  • Tax reform; and
  • Improving fiscal and budgetary management through financial accountability legislation, modernization of public finance and accounting practices, and technology.

In total 24 MPs voted yes; 7 MPs voted no; and there were 7 MPs absent.

In the tourism industry, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation reported that first quarter international visitor results saw significant increases in foreign air and sea arrivals, which are up 2.8 per cent year-on-year. Foreign air arrivals reached a substantial 18 per cent increase compared to Q1 of 2017.

Grand Bahama saw an uptick of 5.1 per cent in foreign arrivals. The increase came after the island received a significant rise in cruise arrivals at the beginning of the year, as well as a big leap in air arrivals during the month of March.

“The Ministry of Tourism has put tremendous focus and effort into our marketing, public relations and sales programmes and we are very pleased to see these Q1 results,” said tourism director general Joy Jibrilu, who last month received the Allied Award from Caribbean Tourism Organization for exceptional work towards the sustainable development of Caribbean tourism.

“Our programme has targeted consumers across traditional and digital communications channels, and across regions including the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Latin America. We believe that the impressive increases in air arrivals are proof of the value of our marketing investment.”

June also saw Grand Bahama host its inaugural The Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference, which ran June 20-22 at the Grand Lucayan resort.

The three-day event attracted a wide range of local and international participants to hear speeches on blockchain and cryptocurrency from professionals proficient in the field.


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The Bahamas Investor - June News & Press

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The government of The Bahamas has named Davinia Blair as the executive director of the imminent Small Business Development Centre.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation has reported that first quarter international visitor results point to an increase in arrivals, signaling that business turnaround from Q4 of 2017 has continued to flow into 2018.

Speaking at the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference last week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said The Bahamas is uniquely positioned to quickly become jurisdiction of choice for blockchain companies.

Five senior Julius Baer Group Ltd private bankers in The Bahamas and Panama have left to join Swiss rival Gonet & Cie.

The 2018/19 Budget passed Monday evening in the House of Assembly with the majority of Members of Parliament voting for a number of fiscal provisions, including increasing VAT to 12 percent.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis delivered his budget 2018/19 contribution in the House of Assembly June 18, 2018.

Minister of Financial Services, Immigration, Trade and Industry Brent Symonette delivered his budget contribution in the House of Assembly June 13, 2018. Read the full contribution here.

Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister Kwasi Thompson was at hand at the ground-breaking ceremony for the $10 million Eco-Oil marine environment services company in Freeport.

The Bahamas government has entered into a contractual arrangement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for investment projects totalling $70 million.

Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest has urged Bahamian businesses to embrace the country's bid to become a member of the World Trade Organization by the end of 2019, saying it will give them access to new markets.

Following push back from the private sector, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest defended the government's proposed 60 per cent VAT hike this morning as he addressed the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce & Employers Confederation's annual conclave.

Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry, and Immigration Brent Symonette and ministry staff attended The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners Miami Annual Summit June 1 in Miami, Florida.

Sidney Collie, ambassador of The Bahamas to the US was elected vice-chair of the General Committee of the Organization of American States last week.

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar spoke of the challenges and opportunities in aviation this morning during his keynote address at the Caribavia aviation industry conference.

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation Director General Joy Jibrilu (pictured, second from right) has become the first Bahamian member of the Caribbean Tourism Organization to receive the Allied Award for work towards the sustainable development of Caribbean tourism.

One month after announcing its presence on the island, global technology company GIBC Digital hosted Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister Kwasi Thompson, and other officials, to a tour of its offices in the Jasmine Corporate Centre June 4.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield addressed the 48th Regular Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States in Washington, DC held June 4-5.

After a ten-day drydock at the Grand Bahama Shipyard (GBS), Princess Cruises' new and improved Crown Princess is ready to rejoin the fleet.

Bahamas Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar and a delegation including Director General Joy Jibrilu and other representatives are attending the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Caribbean Week event in New York City this week.

Talent from around the region will be recognised during Caribbean Week New York 2018 organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Among the winners is Joy Jibrilu, Director General of Tourism, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, who won the Allied Award.

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