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Advisory Youth Council sounds off on the economy

The Advisory Youth Council of The Bahamas (AYC) has offered its feedback on the state of the Bahamian economy, suggesting that the government must become more innovative in terms of generating revenue and improving the economy overall.

“The Government of The Bahamas should implement a tax system that would produce sustainable income to make the necessary investment in energy, educational, health, agriculture, and innovation,” said a statement obtained by Guardian Business yesterday.  “The government must prepare its country for a technological future, one in which its citizens will compete in a competitive economic market.  The key to The Bahamas’ economic success is their (government’s) ability to create an independent economy which will provide stability to each one of its islands.”

The AYC mentioned that the country’s economy is “increasingly vulnerable,” noting that North America and Europe’s economic challenges affect economic growth in The Bahamas.  The recovery of those nations impacts capital inflow, tourism and export revenue.

The inability to diversify the economy has been a constant problem for the country, according to the AYC.

“The Government of The Bahamas has continually struggled with economic diversification, due to its inability to provide adequate infrastructural development throughout its islands, because of high cost,” the statement said.  “The Bahamas economy is recovering from a 10 percent decline in tourism arrivals in 2009, while the country’s foreign direct investment decreased by some 30 percent.”

However, the AYC said signs are pointing towards recovery, with growth in the tourism sector leading the way due in part to rising cruise numbers and efforts to generate more tourism business from Latin America.  The fact that the banking sector has remained stable is also a positive sign according to the group.

The AYC said The Bahamas is on the right track, but the government must remained focused on fostering growth.

“Despite the economic challenges the government should never compromise the investment in the education and health of its country,” the AYC said.  “We are willing to make progress on the economic issue that confronts us, but our ability to move on these issues will depend of course on how much progress we see from the government.  A robust conversation is needed to discuss the futuristic economic development of our country and ways to vitalize development on the Family Islands,” AYC noted.

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