NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamian manufacturers have been able to “power through” the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic while protecting nearly 4,000 jobs in the process, according to Bahamas Light Industries Development Council (BLIDC) Vice President Karla Wells-Lisgaris.
Speaking at a virtual press conference yesterday to launch the Shop Local initiative, Wells-Lisgaris noted that many of the council’s members were deemed “essential services” and have been able to operate despite COVID-19 restrictions ad lockdowns.
“Many of our members are deemed essential services and were operating throughout the pandemic,” she said, noting that the closure of major resorts such as Baha Mar and Atlantis have had a negative impact on much of the economy, including local manufacturers.
“At the end of the day, Baha Mar and Atlantis, those hotels represent major accounts for a lot of our members. Their employees not having an income also had a negative impact. We have been able to power through. The BLIDC also employs over 4,000 Bahamians. We were able to keep most of those Bahamians employed.”
Wells-Lisgaris also noted that based on recommendations from the Economic Recovery Committee, major foreign investors should source more of their goods and supplies locally.
“We understand that typically items are more expensive when procured in the economy, but there is a lot that goes into that. A lot of these major investors get tax concessions and their first instinct is to purchase abroad. There needs to be greater dialogue through the Bahamas Investment Authority and local businesses to find ways to supply more to these developments,” she said.