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Premier, finance minister elaborate on Throne Speech plans

David Burt, the Premier, right, discusses the Throne Speech delivered on Friday with Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance (Photograph supplied)

This year’s Throne Speech was “realistic” in laying out what could be accomplished in the coming legislative session, David Burt, the Premier said yesterday.

The Government’s digital bank, billed as the world’s first state-sponsored institution of its kind, featured prominently.

The bank will cater to emerging industries for growing jobs.

Mr Burt said a “detailed business plan” to develop the digital bank would come first, in tandem with industry experts.

The plan will include creating intellectual property, a review of regulations, the finding of correspondent banking partners, and identifying risks and core technologies.

Mr Burt added: “We believe the size of our relevant financial sectors and high regulatory standards make us an attractive jurisdiction for this initiative.

“We anticipate that the development of the Bermuda Digital Bank will enhance Bermuda’s attractiveness to new types of banks that wish to enter the Bermuda market and will support industries that wish to set up in Bermuda.

The Bermuda health plan, the dropping of middle schools, the revision of the long-term residential certificate policy to attract investors, and the introduction of a living wage also feature in the Government’s plans.

Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, said the base rates of local banks would be set to standard, bringing “clarity and greater transparency” to their lending in this session of Parliament.

Mr Dickinson added: “I intend to introduce legislation that will require Bermuda banks to use the US Prime rate as their base rate.

“Bermuda banks will be required to set rates on loan products, such as mortgages and auto loans, based on the US Prime rate and customers will be able to easily compare rates from various banks before making a borrowing decision.”

The Throne Speech included a proposal to promote home ownership through further pension reforms, allowing for the use of a portion of pension account balances to help to fund the down payment on the purchase of a home by first time homebuyers.“

The move will entail further research by the Pensions Commission.

Mr Dickinson added that it would be “a loan, not a withdrawal” from pensions.

He said: “There is a very well established practice in the US, the 401(k), where you are allowed to borrow to help fund a down payment on a home.

“I know about this, because I did it.”

The move proposed for Bermuda would allow citizens to access their pensions “as a way of borrowing from themselves”.

Mr Dickinson added: “The idea is to help people help themselves while paying themselves back.”

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Published November 10, 2020 at 1:27 am (Updated November 10, 2020 at 1:26 am)

Premier, finance minister elaborate on Throne Speech plans

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