Financial services vital to Bahamas economic growth

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Financial services play an important role in supporting economic growth and employment in The Bahamas, an international expert has revealed in a recent survey.

The Ministry of Labour and Financial Services says the results confirmed what the financial services sector has long known and has been saying for some time.

“This industry not only played a pivotal role in our economy but it also makes the contribution that far exceeds references to absolute size,” the Ministry says.

Sheila Carey, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Financial Services, says that any industry which contributes 15 per cent or more to the Gross Domestic Product of The Bahamas “is worthy and deserving of close attention by the Government and that is the reason why the Ministry of Labour and Financial Services was formed.”

Findings of an Economic Impact Assessment on the country’s financial services were revealed Tuesday, April 24, at a media briefing at the British Colonial Hilton.

In December 2006, the Bahamas Financial Services Board commissioned Mr. Adam Sacks, Managing Director of Oxford Economics and Tourism Economics, to conduct the study by canvassing major stakeholders in the sector.

Oxford Economics is an institution with an excellent reputation for high quality, quantitative analysis and evidence-based advice.

The data obtained by Oxford Economics in conjunction with information already received from the Branding and Strategy Survey, which was carried out by the Government with the support of PriceWaterHouseCoopers, and the financial services sector, “will go a long way in providing empirical data on which future planning for the industry can be carried out,” Ms Carey says.

“This undertaking is yet another demonstration by of the Government’s commitment to private/public partnership,” she adds.

Since 2002, when the Ministry was established, it has worked hand-in-hand with the private sector and with Bahamas Financial Services Board in particular, to coordinate the development and promotion of the financial services industry.

The study also shows consistency in comparing the contributions of the country’s two major economic sectors – financial services and tourism.

The study further reveals that the direct contribution of financial services to the Bahamian economy is 15 per cent and the direct economic contribution of tourism is 21 per cent. Of the 15 per cent direct contribution of financial services, over one-third is generated by international financial services providers. Additionally, many of the domestically licensed banks also provide services to international clients.

The report also notes that the financial services sector is responsible for “oiling the wheels” of other industrial sectors, encouraging investment and improving the quality of that investment, providing a secure home for savings and access to capital markets for firms and households alike, as well as providing high paying job opportunities for Bahamians.

Oxford Economics will also conduct a Capacity Transfer Workshop for officers in the Department of Statistics to ensure that they would be able to continue to collect this type of information for the future, Ms Carey says.

“In this way, we would be able to have available on a regular and consistent basis, pertinent data on the sector itself. In all of this, the Government sector would continue to dialogue with private sector on the way forward,” Ms Carey says.

Related Articles

Back to top button