No break down for PM's $1bn in investment

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Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

The Prime Minister last night said The Bahamas received "more than $1bn" in international investment projects in 2020 although no break down of these developments was provided.

Dr Hubert Minnis, in a national address that appeared largely designed to tout his government's achievements in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, also said downtown Nassau was the recipient of more than $1bn in new and ongoing construction projects that "will help to revitalise our city centre and tourism services".

Providing some details here, Dr Minnis referred to the $250m cruise port transformation and new $318m US embassy, as well as the projects to develop a new Central Bank headquarters and Supreme Court building.

"The revitalisation of downtown represents jobs and economic recovery. They also symbolise a new day for the City of Nassau, for New Providence, and for The Bahamas, after the horrible pandemic of 2020," the Prime Minister added, also noting that the $200m Pointe development is close to completion.

Reaffirming that he will continue unemployment benefits for furloughed workers until the end of January, Dr Minnis added: "To ensure that Bahamian families continue to be supported as the economy reopens, and Bahamians return to work, my government has pledged to continue the unemployment assistance support to the end of January 2021, and food assistance, to the end of March 2021.

"Some $17.2m in food support has been spent between March and October 2020, providing food for approximately 100,000 people to date. The Government provided $45.5m in unemployment support, administered by the National Insurance Board.

"To protect nearly 4,500 jobs in the small business sector, $47.3m was made available for small business grants, and continuity loans, through the Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Centre. To help to support businesses and workers, we offered $44.4m in tax credit/tax deferrals, which funded the payrolls for nearly 7,000 private sector employees."

To date, the Government has spent $177m in total on its various COVID-19 assistance programmes.