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IDB, OPM launch National Development Plan

The government plans to control the national deficit by rearranging its developmental priorities in initiating a National Development Plan through a joint effort between the Office of the Prime Minister and the Inter-American Development Bank. Pictured: State Minister for Investments Khaalis Rolle (centre) and IDB's Astrid Winter (right), January 23. (BIS Photo/Gena Gibbs)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

IDBThe government plans to control the escalation of the national deficit by rearranging its development priorities in initiating a National Development Plan through a joint effort between the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

“At the request of the government of The Bahamas, the Inter-American Development Bank approved a technical cooperation, entitled ‘Strengthening the Capacity in the Office of The Prime Minister.’ The objective of this initiative is the development of an economic planning mechanism for the overall management of the Bahamian economy,” said State Minister for Investments Khaalis Rolle.

“In line with this initiative and our commitment in the Charter for Governance to change our economic course, by placing greater emphasis on planning and effective execution of the nation’s blueprint to the future.”

Rolle said, January 23, that the government met with the IDB and plans to establish an economic planning unit within the Office of the Prime Minister.

“This unit will have the mandate, organizational structure, staffing, and capacity to carry out effective feasibility and impact assessments of all investment projects, including foreign direct investment (FDI), as well as public and private sector investments. The economic planning unit will also ensure the alignment of all prioritized projects with the national economic development strategy,” said Rolle.

He said the national development plan will be historic in nature, will provide a comprehensive overview of the economy, set policy direction for economic growth, and identify strategies, programmes, and projects, to improve the overall health and sustainability of the Bahamian economy.

Minister Rolle said that since approval of the operation, the government held a national development planning workshop in collaboration with the IDB, facilitated by economic planning expert, Dr Nicholas Miles, who has also been contracted to draft the terms of reference for the preparation of the national developmental plan.

He also said the OPM/IDB initiative is funded by a grant from the IDB and does not require repayment, notwithstanding that the partnership is expected to yield a change in the nation’s economic course.

Rolle said that the Economic Planning Unit, along with a National Development Plan, would take around nine months to implement.

“The workshop focused on best practices for Small Island States in advancing an economic development planning instrument for the management of our economy. Today, we are pleased to announce the commencement of the procurement process with requests for expressions of interest and this is being published in the dailies. The procurement process will be managed by the IDB. And we anticipate that both local and foreign firms will participate in this process,” said Rolle.

“I see this as a process that will streamline what we’ve been doing over the years, provide greater focus, provide a surgical and strategic approach, which will take the Bahamian economy and country where it needs to be in the future.”

Astrid Winter from the IDB spoke about launching the procurement process and improving the planning structure and strengthening the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) with the tools needed to evaluate investment proposals.

“This is grant financing, in other words, this is non- reimbursable financing from a fund that the IDB manages called the Institutional Capacity Strengthening Fund, so the resources of $450,000 are in the form of a grant,” said Winter.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), the largest carrier of domestic passengers in the US, has started selling seats on the first-ever scheduled international flights flown by the airline, with destinations in the Caribbean region including Nassau, The Bahamas.

John Sampson, an executive director for EY’s Advisory Practice in New York, will be a featured presenter at the multi-agency seminar on the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive scheduled for February 3, 2014.

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