The financial services sector continues to make a positive contribution to the Bahamian economy as evidenced by sustained employment levels, salaries and capital investment.
Speaking at the annual Bahamas Business Outlook Conference the Hon. Zhivargo Laing, Minister of State for Finance said, *“All indications are that our offshore financial sector remains buoyant despite the global investment and liquidity crisis brought on by problems in the US housing market.”*
The banking sector in The Bahamas contributes, on average, an estimated 15% of Gross Domestic Product and employs over 4,600 individuals, some 94% of whom are Bahamian professionals.
The Minister said one of the key areas of Government action this year is consolidating the financial services regulatory regime toward greater streamlining of doing business in this critical economic sector. The Minister also noted that one of the government’s top priorities is to improve service delivered by the public sector so that *“the private sector using these services do so effectively and efficiently”.*
Addressing the general economy, the Minister said the Government’s forecast, supported by that of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), calls for the Bahamian economy to grow by about 4% at the upper level and 3.5% at the lower level. * “This growth will be underpinned by foreign investment projects in both the tourism and industrial areas that will come on stream, combined with a modest recovery expected in tourism output and a robust public sector capital development programme,”* he said.