Wilson: Economic problems linked to consumer debt, land issues, productivity

Bahamian Businessman Sir Franklyn Wilson said there is no quick fix for The Bahamas’ economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He suggested the government’s Economic Recovery Committee “honestly and candidly” look at the country’s strengths and weaknesses along the lines of land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship.

Wilson, who made the remarks on the talk show “You and Your Money”, contended that one of the greatest weaknesses that has set the country back is the high level of consumer debt and low level of savings.

According to Wilson, previous governments allowed Bahamians’ debt service ratios to grow out of control. He contended that more than 70 percent of government workers’ salaries go toward serving consumer debt.

“The root of capital in a country is savings, but we’re not saving,” said Wilson.

“We have to get back to this and the responsible consumer lenders are doing what they can to try and pull that back, out of their interest, because they know it isn’t sustainable.”

Wilson also said the country has to solve its land issues as part of its economic recovery policy.

“Owning land in this country is a nightmare,” he said.

“We spend so much time and money around the courts just to say we own the land. If you own a significant quantity of land around the country, you have a big problem. Everything to do with land we have to address.”

Wilson also pointed a finger at Bahamians’ productivity, explaining that labor is one of the country’s weaknesses.

“Look at productivity, what are our personal habits? What’s happening with crime and family, because it affects labor.”

Wilson said the government is on the right track with entrepreneurship in the country and the development of the Small Business Development Centre.

He said entrepreneurship will be important to lead The Bahamas down the path of technology and e-commerce.

According to Wilson, the private sector must lead the country out of the economic slump caused by COVID-19, while the government’s biggest role will be to build national unity.

“This must be a collective effort,” he said. “The government’s role, while it’s central, it must be limited. We are all in this together, we must all work together.

“If there was ever a time we need to be on one accord, it’s now.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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