Cox tells business leaders: ‘We are focused on tackling debt’ – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Cox tells business leaders: ‘We are focused on tackling debt'

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Premier Paula Cox told international business leaders that Government is focused on tackling debt.

Ms Cox spoke to Business Bermuda members, as part of her campaign to bring the Budget to the people. She reiterated that Bermuda has reset the dial and is committed to working with international businesses and hospitality to help improve the Island's economy.

She has already spoken to Chamber of Commerce members and held a town hall meeting in the city to present the 2011-12 Budget.

Yesterday, she said Government was committed to ushering in an open Budget policy, a process where the public can provide feedback on Government spending and taxation

She also referenced Bermuda's public debt level, which is $1 billion, costing $180,000 a day on interest.

“Over the past years, we have made some decisions to increase debt, to pay for projects we believed were for the good of Bermuda,” she said. “We knew there were would be costs to our future in doing so. We believed that to help us through the bad times, we had to incur those costs.

“We learned the hard way that financial markets are prone to exuberance and contradiction. No-one, I repeat, no-one contemplated the magnitude or extent of the recession and while there are signs of recovery in some sectors, we have entered a new economic phase that requires a balancing of publicly financed infrastructure expansion while also providing essential public services.”

Ms Cox said Government has already implemented ways to tackle the debt, such as cutting $150 million from the Budget this coming fiscal year. Government have also created a Procurement Office to oversee large projects and ensure Government receive value for money. The re-alignment of ministries will also help them save money she said.

She added: “Getting our debt under control requires making choices; making trade-offs.”

* An earlier version of this story said debt had doubled to $1bn in the last year. That is not the case.

Premier Paula Cox

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Published March 04, 2011 at 11:00 am (Updated March 04, 2011 at 11:25 am)

Cox tells business leaders: ‘We are focused on tackling debt'

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