PM defends unemployment drop prediction

PM defends unemployment drop prediction
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis doubled down on his prediction that unemployment will drop to less than six percent by 2021, telling Parliament that such a goal is ‘achievable’ from tourism sector expansion alone.

“The six percent level of unemployment is achievable from tourism sector expansion alone and without building one more room in The Bahamas,” he said.

Minnis fired back against Opposition criticism as he wrapped up the mid-term budget debate on Monday.

“I have heard that it is highly improbable that we can get underemployment down to six percent,” he said.

“We need to think boldly and with greater vision and imagination which is lacking in the leader of the Opposition and his visionless party. We need to rethink and innovate when it comes to the economic model that some rigidly propose for tourism development.”

Minnis said: “We need to update our thinking about the economics of tourism. According to some, the only path to rapid employment is the construction of a very large resorts. Unfortunately the economic model that assumes this is not the only path to rapid employment in the tourism sector.”

The prime minister predicted earlier this month that unemployment will drop to less than six percent by 2021 due to upcoming projects his administration has in the pipeline.

“With what we see on the ground in both Abaco and Grand Bahama, and what is happening in terms of rebuilding, I think our unemployment rate will come down dramatically,” Minnis said.

“No politicians like to make such statements. I can make a bold statement and state that I think that by the end of 2021, I am certain the unemployment rate will be around six percent or less.”

He also noted that last year The Bahamas broke the seven million visitor mark, a feat he challenged Tourism minister Dionisio D’Aguilar exceed.

“Last year we broke the seven million mark in terms of number of visitors. I have challenged the minister of tourism to march fast and forward towards the eight million mark,” Minnis added.