Task force to be formed to steer Bermuda’s economic recovery
A dedicated task force based in the Cabinet Office will be formed to drive Bermuda’s economic recovery as the pandemic eases , the Premier said today.
David Burt told the House of Assembly that a recovery plan had been devised to renew the economy after the island got control of the coronavirus.
The team, drawn from the Civil Service, the private sector and possibly overseas, would be tasked with implementing 30 key initiatives aimed at boosting economic growth and jobs.
Mr Burt said Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, would table the plan and the details of the 30 initiatives on March 16 but they would include:
· Lowering interest rates to reduce mortgage costs;
· Boosting the development of approved residential schemes in the economic empowerment zones;
· Implementation of affordable universal healthcare;
· The development of a ‘fit for purpose’ water & waste treatment facility; and
· Creation of a National Digital Bank for Bermuda.
Mr Burt said an already overstretched Civil Service which had also just seen all vacant but funded posts in the Civil Service eliminated would be unable to implement the plan while also carrying out its normal functions.
Therefore “a dedicated project management office, comprised of a team of individuals with the experience and skill-sets necessary” would be formed, he said.
He added: “The Economic Recovery Plan proposes a governance structure that will see the creation of a dedicated Economic Recovery Project Management Office. This team will require proven experience in planning, stakeholder management, budget and resources management, quality assurance and risk management, knowledge management and a clear understanding of various public and private delivery models.
“ It will be necessary to bring to the fore our best and brightest, from the public and private sectors and potentially from an international talent pool. The urgency of this mission is such that we must be determined to secure the right team.”
He said the office would report to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Development and would be supported by all Ministries and Government Quangos to effect the 30 initiatives.
He said: “This dedicated Project Management Office will work closely with the Department for Economic Development who are leading on the execution of policies that cross ministries. In addition to monitoring the successful implementation of policies, there will be regular reporting on the overall implementation status, risks and resource requirements.”
Mr Burt said the Ministry of Finance would be required to update progress on a monthly basis and supply the information to the Cabinet committee on economic development.
Mr Burt said the 30 initiatives were based on seven themes, which were:
· Economic diversification;
· Making financial markets work better, primarily by lowering interest rates and diversifying the banking sector;
· Infrastructure investment;
· Expanding the resident population;
· Labour market and social development measures including increased employment and living wages;
· The introduction of affordable universal healthcare and the Bermuda Health Plan; and
· A supportive legal and regulatory framework to encourage the growth of emerging industries.
Mr Burt said: “This is work that cannot wait. The Government’s role is to create the conditions in which economic recovery can occur; not just the traditional recovery of business that often follows economic downturns, but the recovery of families and hard-working people whose labour also drives this economy and to whom we pledged in the last election, would become owners in this economy.”