NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Eight billion dollars in international investment in The Bahamas means jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for young Bahamians, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis told an FNM Torchbearers Pre-Convention Rally on Wednesday evening.
Prime Minister Minnis was referring to the announcement made in the House of Assembly during the Budget Communication on Wednesday that since May 2017, the Government has approved approximately $8 billion in international investments throughout The Bahamas.
“This $8 billion will mean incredible economic opportunities for scores of Bahamians in the tourism, construction and other industries,” said the prime minister.
The investments include the $100 million Carnival Cruise Port for Grand Bahama, and a mega project that will transform Freeport, including the Grand Lucayan properties, into one of the premier destinations in the region.
The prime minister said that to take advantage of the opportunities, the Government must ensure that thousands of Bahamians have the education, skills and training needed for this new economy.
The FNM is also fulfilling its promise that young Bahamians would have access to quality higher education through scholarships and grants, said the prime minister.
This year’s budget includes $16.2 million for the tuition and grant initiative at the University of The Bahamas, for both new and returning qualifying students, in addition to a $500 monthly stipend for Family Island students.
In the upcoming budget, $4.1 million dollars have been allocated for the Be Your Own Boss program, which offers 1,000 scholarships to full-time students aged 18 to 25. In some cases, it will also benefit individuals over 25 years of age who are currently enrolled in a preparatory, certificate, diploma or associate degree program.
“Our mission is Bahamian ownership and empowerment,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “We promised to develop the most ambitious youth entrepreneurship initiative in the history of The Bahamas.”
The Government is also reducing duties on variety of school supplies, for preschool, primary, junior and high school students.
To help improve the ease of doing business for Bahamians, including young Bahamian entrepreneurs, the Business Licence Act will be amended to allow for flexible dates for the submission and issuance of business licenses.
Business licence deadlines will no longer be restricted to 31 January and 31 March. There will now be four periods in the calendar year to meet licence deadlines.
Prime Minister Minnis told Torchbearers that the FNM is the party of equal opportunity for all Bahamians.
The Prime Minister noted plans to make sure that thousands more Bahamians have their own real estate in the form of Crown Land, and removal and reductions in duty on home refrigerators and stoves, and household furniture, respectively.
“We create policies and programs to help Bahamians achieve their dreams through hard work, free of victimization,” said the Prime Minister.