New department aims to boost economy

  • David Burt, the Premier (File photograph)

A group designed to boost business development was announced in the House of Assembly yesterday.

David Burt, the Premier, told MPs that Cabinet has approved the creation of an Economic Development Department.

Mr Burt said: “Bermuda is at an economic crossroads. Historic norms of our economy have been challenged almost to the breaking point.”

He added new department would “concentrate energy, resources and expertise in order to stimulate growth and diversify our economy”.

Mr Burt said that problems had affected the retail sector and that job outsourcing and automation had also presented economic threats.

He added that the department would combine ICT policy and innovation unit, the business development unit and the fintech business unit and would not create any new civil service posts.

Mr Burt said the new department, promised in the Progressive Labour Party’s 2017 economic manifesto, would become operational “in the coming months”.

It will also be included in the 2020-21 Budget, which will be presented to the House on February 21.

Mr Burt said the Government’s management consulting services section had been asked to conduct the review to put

together the new department.

He added that the department’s work would include promotion of Bermuda as a test market for new products and industries and also provide “a concierge service for new companies”.

Mr Burt said ministers had been responsible for economic development in the past, but the sector had never been co-ordinated by a single government department.

He added: “Sadly, this has led to duplicated efforts, companies being lost to other jurisdictions and activities being advanced without the necessary foundation to ensure success.”

Mr Burt said the new department would not “start from scratch”.

He added it would also make use of a 2018 report “Vision for Bermudian Economic Growth”, known as the Cornell-Queens report. which was commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce.

To read David Burt’s ministerial statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”