Pintard: BAIC needs more funding despite increase
The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) will receive a $2.2 million increase in government funding in the 2019/2020 budget.
The corporation was allocated $4 million in the 2018/2019 budget and $6.2 million in the 2019/2020 budget.
However, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard said the corporation needs twice the funding it received.
“BAIC, in my view, is underfunded and so as the economy improves we’ll be asking the government to increase the allocation to BAIC, which is the business arm of the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources,” Pintard told reporters outside the BAIC’s Solider Road office.
When asked what would be the ideal budget for the BAIC, Pintard said, “We are now working on a solid strategic plan so that we are able to put all of those numbers together, but we can tell you already that twice the kind of funding we have right now is important…
“One of the big gaps in agriculture and marine resources is really having the required data needed to create bankable business plans to help persons who are in business planning to be able to forecast effectively.
“There is a need to increase funding to be able to create data so that all policy decisions are made on the basis of empirical data.”
The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources also saw an increase in its consultancy services budget.
It was allocated $30,000 in the 2018/2019 budget and $320,000 in the 2019/2020 budget.
Asked about the increase, Pintard said, “We also need additional experts. A number of the departments are under resourced. In this ministry in particular, many of our key persons at the top are at retirement age so there’s a need to hire more Bahamians, particularly those with first and second degrees in order for them to discharge the kind of services that they need.”
He added, “Again, that’s an important increase but again that is a drop in the bucket when you consider the points that I just raised to do the work that is required.”