||Last Updated: Jan 30, 2019 - 1:01:24 PM
Nassau, The Bahamas - Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis shared with the Bahamian people that he is pleased with the jobless rate in Grand Bahama, as that northern island is tapped to become the country’s technology hub.
In the first of a series of three National Addresses delivered to the nation on Monday, January 28, 2019 the Prime Minister focused on what his government is proposing to do to boost economic growth across the Bahamian archipelago.
“The leading priority of our administration is economic growth and expansion of jobs and opportunity,” the Prime Minister told the nation.
He said although his government is making considerable progress, there is still much work to do.
Referencing latest data from the Department of Statistics regarding employment growth, the Prime Minister said he is pleased that the jobless rate in Grand Bahama is down from 12.4 percent to 11.9 percent. This is the first time since the Great Recession of 2008 employment rate is below 12 percent.
The number of discouraged workers also fell in Grand Bahama to a rate of 9.8 percent, according to latest data from the Department of Statistics.
“While this is very good news, the jobless rate in Grand Bahama is still way too high. It must come down even more,” the Prime Minister said.
He then outlined plans for the revitalization of the economy of Grand Bahama. “We have a comprehensive and aggressive agenda to boost growth and jobs in Grand Bahama including transforming the island into a technology hub,” he noted.
He also disclosed that his government is actively exploring the opportunity to establish a transshipment port in Mayaguana in the Southern Bahamas, which would make the port in Grand Bahama stronger.
“Grand Bahama is vital for the overall growth and economic expansion of The Bahamas,” the Prime Minister said, adding that while employment has gone down on that island there is still a long way to go.
“We are making progress on the Bahama Bay resort and residential development, the former Ginn Sur Mer,” he said. “This development will include 173 condo-hotel units, a marina and the development of a smart city.”
The Prime Minister also pointed out that the government is on track to sell the Grand Lucayan resort, the temporary purchase of which was “absolutely necessary” for the economy of Grand Bahama. “Thankfully, the economy of Grand Bahama is recovering through new tourism projects and our ambitious programme to establish the island as a technology hub,” he said.
Grand Bahama has attracted several high-tech and back office firms employing Grand Bahamians chiefly as a result of the Commercial Enterprise Act 2017, the Prime Minister said.
And, among the new and diverse businesses on Grand Bahama is the Carnival Cruise Lines Ocean Medallion Project. The Ocean Medallion is a wearable device that enables a personal digital concierge for passengers, eliminating long check lines, cabin keys and credit cards. Already, a team of eight Bahamians have undergone training to learn how to install the Ocean Medallion hardware and software on cruise ships, and they continue to monitor those systems, the Prime Minister noted.
Also on Grand Bahama is a tech firm GIBC Digital – a digital transformation facilitator that helps organizations automate their manual processes, reduce costs, errors, and prevent cyber security threats among other things.
Other companies approved under the Commercial Enterprise Act listed by the Prime Minister include:
- Global United – a European-based medical call centre and administrative office;
- GB Biopharma - a company engaged in biomedical services;
- DevDigital Bahamas Limited – a Bahamian joint venture web development company;
- Agriculture Enterprises Development Limited – a Bahamian joint venture farming company that will engage in a pilot fruit and nut farm, producing coconut, castor and palm oil for the local market and for export;
- Bahamas Golden Harvest Limited – another Bahamian joint venture company which was approved to establish a chicken hatchery, produce eggs, chicken feed, cash crops and citrus on East End, Grand Bahama.
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