The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) is aiming to become a catalyst for economic development in The Bahamas, the bank’s Managing Director Dave Smith said yesterday, but he lamented that the legislation driving the bank has to be updated to expand the BDB’s reach.
Smith, who spoke at a press conference for the Abaco Business Outlook yesterday (he will be a speaker at the outlook next Thursday), said the bank is looking at changing the legislation that directs it in order to expand the types of industries it can develop statutorily.
According to Smith, the BDB is engaged in assisting in the development of industries in The Bahamas, such as the development of a cascarilla industry.
“BDB does more than just extend credit or loans, we actually engage in development activities,” said Smith.
“A good example of that would be, perhaps, what we’re attempting to do in Cat Island and Crooked Island with regard to cascarilla, in terms of developing and industrializing that, taking out more value in terms of the process as opposed to just processing the bark and exporting it… processing it further down to get the essential oil.”
Smith said the BDB is also looking at how The Bahamas could develop more poultry in the country, in order to reduce imports and provide more for local consumption.
“So if you consider how much we import in poultry, even if today we were to double the production here, it still would be insufficient to meet local consumption,” he said.
Smith added that the BDB is also delving into the development of the orange (cultural and creative) and blue (sustainable use of ocean resources) economies.
In terms of those economies, Smith said they have to be included in the bank’s new legislation, as well as the development of more businesses related to renewable energy technology, a sector he said is “wide open”.