LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Where can The Bahamas look to create new job opportunities?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Where can The Bahamas look to create new job opportunities?

Dear Editor:

Former Senator Jamal Moss

Tourism and services account for more than half of the country’s GDP and slightly more than half of the workforce. However, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the economy, wiping out tens of thousands of jobs. Although there has not been a labor force survey since December 2019, government agencies and outside organizations believe the unemployment rate is between 20 and 25 percent.

Most of the tourists coming to The Bahamas, continue to come from the United States. The financial services sector accounts for 15% of the GDP, making it the country’s second-largest industry. To create new job opportunities for the Bahamas’ youth, the government must invest in digitizing commercial services and revitalizing domestic productivity through small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly those in non-traditional industries.

Compared to the other Bahama islands, Grand Bahama’s economy is the most diverse and has the least reliance on tourism. Duty-free area Freeport serves as the nation’s capital and is home to several American corporations. The Bahamas’ economic fate will be determined by the government’s efforts to revitalize the tourism industry, diversify the economy, attract foreign direct investment, manage debt obligations, and demonstrate fiscal responsibility.

Tourism growth and the lifting of COVID restrictions that had been in place for two years due to government borrowing, spending, and tax breaks related to the outbreak have been credited with the country’s recent economic growth. The government’s upcoming report will include tourism, renewable energy, airport and infrastructure development, mining, and agriculture initiatives.

Furthermore, the government will allocate $300 million over five years to promote entrepreneurial activity, reiterating its support for small and medium-sized businesses (90% of all firms). Since its inception in 2018, the SBDC has made it one of its primary goals to bridge the wage gap between men and women and improve women’s economic engagement and empowerment.

Submitted by: Jamal Moss