PM promises new ministry for investments

◗ Home Porting Act to encourage cruise business

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said if given another term in office, his administration would create a new Ministry of Investments, Financial Services and Commerce to help to boost dynamic growth and jobs that would serve as one of the leading drivers of our economic recovery.

The prime minister made the announcement during a Free National Movement (FNM) drive-up rally to announce New Providence candidates ahead of the September 16 general election.

“This new and enhanced ministry will help to expand the conditions for economic growth and trade, and enhance and promote Bahamian ownership of the economy through entrepreneurship, innovation and digitization,” he said during the rally held Saturday night.

“The portfolio areas of the ministry will include Invest Bahamas; financial services; trade and industry promotion; the ease of doing business and digitization; the promotion of concessions and incentives for Bahamians, and Family Island economic development.

“The other areas for this new ministry will include the promotion of medium and small-sized businesses, the Small Business Development Centre, the promotion of the Blue, Green and Orange Economies, new industry promotion, diversification and cooperatives.”

During a rally on Grand Bahama Friday, the prime minister also announced plans to introduce a Home Porting Act.

This comes after Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises began home porting in The Bahamas, amid no sail orders in the United States, that kept cruise companies docked for more than a year.

“Over the next five years, millions of tourists will be coming to Grand Bahama. Early in our next term, we are going to put in place a Home Porting Act, similar to the Hotels Encouragement Act,” he said.

“You have already experienced more visitors from the cruise lines coming to Grand Bahama. We told them that Grand Bahama was a must-stop. There is more to come.”

Minnis said plans to bolster that island’s economy would begin as soon as October with the expansion of the Grand Bahama Shipyard.

“There are other big investments for Grand Bahama. As you know, Carnival and Royal Caribbean have agreed to a new combined investment of approximately $350 million in the Grand Bahama Shipyard. You might recall that the original investment and other investments to date in the shipyard have totaled approximately $250 million,” he said.

“The new investment will match this and exceed it by $100 million. The proposed infrastructure works will replace the two damaged docks with larger ones. This will mean a notable increase in employment and economic activity on Grand Bahama, and for local businesses throughout Freeport and Grand Bahama. The government and the owners of the shipyard will work on a new partnership agreement that benefits the people of Grand Bahama. The expansion of the Grand Bahama Shipyard will begin as early as October 2021. This is a sign of progress, a sign of hope and a sign of confidence.”

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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