Central Bank governor says economy is strong
Central Bank Governor John Rolle yesterday said the Bahamian economy is strong and is expected to continue to grow at a moderate pace.
“You’re working with what you got. Let’s put it that way,” he said during his quarterly media address at the Central Bank.
Rolle added, “The economy is expected to continue to grow at a moderate pace, providing potential for further gains in external reserves.”
Rolle said the economic growth was primarily fueled by growth in the tourism sector.
“Overall, the Bahamian economy is still benefitting from the expansion in the United States economy and other developed countries,” he said.
“Although there is more uncertainty around the speed at which these countries will grow over the next few years, the support for tourism was maintained and linked most to healthy confidence in U.S. households.
“In this regard, the available information points to continued growth in the Bahamian economy during the first quarter of 2019 with tourism providing the strongest support, and foreign investments continuing to drive construction activity.”
However, he noted that focus must be on improving long-term economic growth.
Rolle said the growth in tourism can be attributed to a “huge amount” of new room inventory and interest in vacation rentals.
“To continuously see that kind of growth would mean that somebody is continuously adding large amounts of capacity, and you’re tracking the airlift, and you’re having the port facility to keep up with the traffic volumes,” he said.
“So based upon how the infrastructure is set today, everything that we look at says once you’ve gotten over this adjustment your growth rate is still averaging in the two percent range, slightly below two percent, and by most measures that’s not considered as satisfactory or pleasing projection for The Bahamas.
“So in terms of our growth potential, I think there’s not much joy or thrill in The Bahamas.
“In terms of where we are today, the transition that is happening in the economy is a very strong transition because of the momentum from tourism, but the longer and medium-term focus really is to make sure that one and a half percent potential growth improves, which means that on a yearly basis, you’re looking at either investment or ways of being productive that are generating good revenue growth.”
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish