Sir William Allen
Minister of Finance

Bahamas Finance Minister, Sir William Allen, has opened debate in the House of Assembly on the 2001-2002 National Budget. He pointed out that public budget debates provide a practical and appropriate forum for stimulating national dialogue on issues of concern to the Bahamian economy and society generally.

The Minister pointed out, further, that the annual budget clearly sets out the government’s social and economic policies for The Bahamas.

Sir William said that the Bahamian economy *”is fundamentally a provider of international service, and is already in the mainstream of globalisation.”* The Bahamas was among the first countries to appreciate the potential benefits of international services and, according to the Minister, it is this commitment to the development of international service, which has placed The Bahamas in the position of earning one of the highest living standards of the independent countries in the Western Hemisphere.

The Bahamas is embracing the opportunities presented by globalisation, said Minister Allen, and *”..we are steadfast in our commitment to maintain The Bahamas as a premier tourism destination, as an international financial services centre of the highest integrity and efficiency, capable of meeting the strictest competition, and as a major centre for other international services.”* On this last point, it was noted that the government is positioning The Bahamas as a competitive and reputable centre for e-commerce, with the establishment of the necessary pre-conditions for the industry.

On May 30, Minister Allen presented a balanced budget, for the second consecutive year. (See related article) House debate on the budget continues this coming week.