During his Contribution to the 2022/2023 Budget Debate, on June 1, 2022, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said that it was “long past time” to realize the potential of The Bahamas’ Orange, Blue and Green economies.
“A new Bahamian School of Visual, Performing and Recording Arts will unleash Bahamian creative skills, help us attract world-class cultural events, and highlight our extraordinary talent,” Prime Minister Davis said, in the House of Assembly.
“We are attracting major sporting events to The Bahamas through our Sports in Paradise initiative – the Babe Ruth Caribbean Championships, CARIFTA Track and Field Championships, the World Athletics Relays, North America Central America and the Caribbean Track and Field Championships – all will be hosted here,” he added.
Prime Minister Davis noted that his Government is funding the Elite Athletes Programme to increase support for Bahamian athletes and sporting programmes. A new partnership between the Bahamas Maritime Authority and the LJM Marine Academy will offer more training opportunities for Bahamians in the maritime sector, he added.
“The Merchant Shipping Act had not been overhauled since 1999; we rectified that with an upgraded Merchant Shipping Bill that modernizes our legislative framework and ensures our shipping industry can be competitive, grow and develop,” Prime Minister Davis said.
“I spoke earlier about carbon credits; protecting and conserving our seagrasses and mangroves will generate new opportunities as well, and we expect to see many young Bahamians choose to focus their studies and training in the marine and climate change fields,” he added.
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that there was also enormous potential for “cleantech” ventures in renewable energy.
“We have allocated funding to reduce the Government’s carbon footprint through the installation of renewable energy systems throughout the Family Islands, and increased the number of electric vehicles in the Government’s fleet,” he said.
“The immediate focus is the development of resilient solar PV installations in The Bahamas,” he added. “Resilient PV is solar energy that is coupled with technology that allows it to provide power even during grid outages.”
Prime Minister Davies noted that his Government had begun its assessment of energy systems in Inagua, Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked Island and Long Cay.
“Public buildings there and in Andros will test out pilot installations of Solar Photovoltaic Systems,” he said.
“We have eliminated import duties on lithium ion and lithium phosphate batteries, the batteries predominantly used for renewable energy,” he added.
“We have also simplified the process for bringing in renewable energy parts.” Prime Minister Davis noted that his Government’s decision to lower the duty on electric cars “received a great reception”.
“A valid question was raised, with respect to the duty rates of electric vehicle chargers,” he added. “They were not in the first list of duty exemptions, but we have made the adjustment and they are now included at a rate of five percent.”
Prime Minister Davis said that his Government is serious about reducing The Bahamas’ carbon emissions, which is why it was on a path to switching from heavier fuel to cleaner, less expensive LNG. Gas, he noted, is the cleanest of the fossil fuels, so his Government intends to join the many countries who view LNG as a bridge to a renewable future.
“And as I announced yesterday, Bahamas Power & Light will provide 60MW of its power from a solar field by early next year,” Prime Minister Davis said. “Our country is finally making progress on our goal of achieving 30 percent reliance on renewables by 2030.”