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Hayward narrows economic recovery focus down to four projects

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Vertical farming: A potential location for a large-scale vertical farming facility is under review, Jason Hayward told MPs today. This is an overseas example of a vertical farm.

Four key triggers for jobs recovery have been targeted to kick start growth, the economy and labour minister told the House of Assembly today.

Jason Hayward said the recovery plans were aimed at powering Bermuda out of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Major initiatives designed to spur recovery include improvements to the Tynes Bay incinerator, the development of northeast Hamilton, the creation of a casino industry and an emphasis on vertical farming.

The four areas were identified by professional services firm KPMG as key components of the government’s economic recovery plan most likely to trigger an economic revival.

Mr Hayward said: “KPMG have identified four critical initiatives deemed mostly likely to generate a significant socio-economic impact in the short and medium term, along with the important enablers required to advance these initiatives.

“The four priorities in the ERP must produce jobs, increase GDP and lead us to a sustainable future.

“The Government’s four priority initiatives focus on a strategy of economic diversification, reducing socio-economic disparities and leveraging our natural resources and geographic advantages.

“The four lead initiatives, if effectively executed, will meet the Government objectives of higher GDP, an increase in jobs, increased investment and improved public finances. I am pleased to inform that aggressive steps are being taken to advance them.”

Jason Hayward (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Mr Hayward said refurbishment of the Tynes Bay incinerator was under way.

He said: “As of February 2022, stabilisation works have commenced for the burner systems and will progress throughout the remainder of the year.

Mr Hayward added: “A draft North Hamilton local plan has been developed to facilitate new economic investment in the area. The intention of the plan is to make north-east Hamilton a more appealing place to reside, establish a business and visit.”

He said that plans to launch a gambling industry on the island were also in hand.

Mr Hayward added: “The Bermuda Gaming Commission’s regulatory unit and casino regulatory framework have been developed.

“The necessary statutes, funding mechanisms and appointments to permit the industry to launch have been concluded, with the first approval for a licence to operate anticipated in due course.”

Mr Hayward said work to make vertical farming a reality continued.

He said: “The vertical farming facility is being acted upon, with a potential location for a large-scale vertical farming facility under review and financial details in development. Construction of the facility will commence once these matters are finalised.”

Mr Hayward admitted: “Covid-19 has taken a heavy toll on the island. The loss of lives, the loss of livelihoods, the negative effects of the global supply chain shortfalls have combined to result in a significant decline in economic activity.

“As we transition to the new normal where we live alongside Covid-19, we now need to adjust our short and long term planning horizons.”

Mr Hayward said: “The actions we must now take require boldness, determination, courage and rigorous execution.

“The proposed policies in the ERP have been prioritised to focus on investment and implementation capacity in areas with the highest impact for Bermuda’s medium-term economic growth and employment.

“They consisted of 81 policy initiatives, of which 31 have been identified as highest priority.”

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Published March 04, 2022 at 12:23 pm (Updated March 04, 2022 at 8:19 pm)

Hayward narrows economic recovery focus down to four projects

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