Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest explained that this government administration’s socio-economic agenda is one that embodies, nurtures and ensures the evolution of human capacity. “Our approach to enhancing economic growth is not founded on senseless overspending to secure votes, or on self-serving philosophies,” DPM Turnquest said during his Contribution to the Budget Debate in the House of Assembly, Wednesday, June 5. “We firmly believe that empowering the citizens of our nation by providing the necessary tools to advance themselves is what will drive an economic expansion.”
He noted that gone are the days when Bahamians, young and old, will have to rely on an Member of Parliament, a bureaucrat or a politician to start a business, to get that home, or to get that job. “It is not the government’s role to hold its citizens handicapped to a system where going through a public official is the only route to getting anywhere in the country. “Instead, it is the government’s role to ensure that the correct policies are in place to endow its citizens with the power to build their lives and livelihoods for themselves. It is time to put the power back in the hands of the people where it belongs.” He stated that this administration is determined to break the cycle of government dependency, and instead create partnerships with Bahamians to advance their future.
“The policies we have listed in our 2017 Manifesto—the very same ones we are putting into action — speak largely to that. Our commitment to empowering the people is evident in our education and training initiatives.”The DPM added that very soon, there will not be one Bahamian who will not have the opportunity to apply to one of the government’s educational initiatives. “From the University of The Bahamas, to the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute, to high schools, and even to pre-schools, each and every Bahamian will have the choice of taking advantage of these opportunities to better themselves.”
He explained that investing in education is perhaps central to the growth of each citizen. DPM Turnquest said having access to education allows us the opportunity to build our human capital so that upon finishing tertiary education we are made better candidates for employment opportunities – or to shape our own entrepreneurial destiny. “No longer do we want Bahamians to be constrained by a lack of basic skills, or ineligible for a job due to a knowledge deficiency. What we want for them is to be able to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge so that they can be eligible for any job they desire – or become equipped to be their boss.” He stated that Bahamian citizens better equipped for the modern 21st century marketplace will secure higher employment and more entrepreneurship.
The DPM noted that when there is higher employment and more new small business activity, people will have more disposable income to spend on goods and services. He added that when people are consuming more, the economy is growing because businesses are benefiting from this higher consumption and subsequently putting those earnings back into the economy. “To show our support and commitment to our educational initiative, in this Budget, we have allocated approximately $20 million to additional tuition and training funding at the University of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute. “The Prime Minister will speak more on this, and other educational initiatives that are in the pipeline, when he gives his contribution to culminate this debate,” DPM Turnquest said.