Baha Mar’s potential impact again highlighted as new GDP figures released
An official at the Department of Statistics reiterated yesterday the positive impact Baha Mar will have on the economy once it opens.
But when Baha Mar will open remains a mystery exactly 10 months after its developer filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States.
The impact of Baha Mar on economic development was highlighted during a press conference at which time officials of the Department of Statistics revealed that in current prices for 2015, the Bahamas’ GDP showed positive growth of 2.7 percent.
The wholesale and retail trade, banking and real estate industries, among others, displayed positive growth over the last year.
The department acknowledged that Baha Mar’s fate reflects on the performance of the economy in a direct and measurable way.
Acting Director of the Department of Statistics Leona Wilson said, “Baha Mar is a major infusion in the Bahamian economy. It’s a major project.
“Any major project in an economy like The Bahamas would have an effect on the economic activity within the country.”
The Central Bank of The Bahamas has noted that the inability of the mega resort to open its doors continues to weigh on the outlook for economic growth.
Wilson said an improvement could be expected once the project is completed.
“When it [comes] in it would have a positive effect and when the project is fully completed you will also have a positive effect in your economic activity,” she said.
Statisticians also noted yesterday that there were decreases in both the construction and hotel industries in 2015.
The Baha Mar project has been stalled for nearly a year.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Perry Christie revealed that the China Export-Import (EXIM) Bank is fast-tracking its process to find a buyer for the troubled property, which has been mostly shuttered for more than nine months.
Although there has been limited movement on the project since Baha Mar filed for bankruptcy in the United States on June 29, 2015, the resort’s convention center was used to host the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) general meeting earlier this month.
The substantive bankruptcy claim in the U.S. has been dismissed.
Last year, a local Supreme Court judge approved a request from EXIM bank to send Baha Mar into receivership.
In October, court appointed joint provisional liquidators gained approval from the Supreme Court to implement a redundancy plan.
More than 2,000 employees were laid off as a result.
In December 2015, statisticians reported that the lay offs were one of the major contributing factors to the rise in unemployment.
According to the most recent statistics from the department, unemployment rose from 12 percent in May 2015 to 15.8 percent in November 2015.