During a virtual business mission with the High Commission of Canada last week, Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson explained that a public-private partnership (PPP) structure will be required for the redevelopment of the Grand Bahama International Airport, which was devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
Thompson explained to the Canadians that this country has had to constrain its public expenditure portfolio and is now looking to more “creative alternatives to finance critical infrastructure projects that must continue”.
He said the government still intends to focus on its ongoing investments in health infrastructure, roads, bridges, airports and energy through the creation of a national infrastructure fund.
Thompson said PPP-required projects include the Exuma International Airport; the Long Island International Airport at Deadman’s Cay; the North Eleuthera International Airport; and upgrades to the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport at Marsh Harbour, Abaco.
“When The Bahamas was in need of redeveloping its most important air gateway, the Lynden Pindling International Airport, it was a public-private partnership with Canadian company Vancouver Airport Services – later called Vantage Airport Group – that delivered the top-rated airport we have in operation today,” said Thompson.
“We know this model works and we have confidence in the type of investors attracted to The Bahamas.”
He extolled the government’s commitment to forming more PPPs and laid out the changing local investment environment, contending that The Bahamas has been continually easing the red tape.
“The government of The Bahamas is placing a renewed focus on expediting the pipeline for larger-scaled investment projects, which contribute significantly to new jobs and spending in the economy,” said Thompson.
“We are doing this by restructuring the foreign direct investment (FDI), decision-making process, so that reviews and approvals for high-impact investment applications are delivered faster. The demand today is as strong as ever, even as the global economy has been starved by the pandemic.
“The government is also vigorously pursuing public-private partnerships to meet the sizable infrastructure development needs, estimated at $2 billion, throughout our extensive archipelago. In fact, capital expenditure goals, using the PPP framework, is a key component of our fiscal strategy and is critical to our economic recovery plans.”
During the meeting, Thompson also urged greater collaboration between the trading machinery of The Bahamas and Canada, explaining that in 2019, The Bahamas exported to Canada goods valued at more than $19 million Canadian dollars.
“It is important to see the value of these exports in terms of the people and livelihoods they represent,” Thompson said.
“They represent workers and families and local businesses that survive and thrive on the backs of our common values, shared interests and mutual cooperation. In the future, we hope to see more collaborations between investors and local businesses.”