Participating on a local radio talk show, the Hon. Zhivargo Laing, Minister of Economic Development, pointed out that over the past several years in The Bahamas there has been a 20% shrinkage in the lowest income bracket, with the middle to upper income areas actually swelling by this same 20%. According to the Minister, *”We have had a fluid movement from one category to an upper level. This is a reflection of the fact that people are earning better incomes, and usually that translates into more savings and investments”*.
Minister Laing indicated that foreign investment and skills have been contributing factors to the country’s growth. *”I don’t think any country would not want international capital added to its stock. Foreign capital should accentuate and enhance local capital investment and governmental policies should ensure a complementary relationship between foreign and local investments”,*he said.
The radio show also addressed the impact of politics on the economy, with the Minister affirming that the economy is affected by government’s social and political policies. Economic policies can determine whether businesses are confident and willing to spend in the economy. This, then, has an effect on employment levels, thereby affecting people’s pocketbooks.
The Minister further stated that Governments with healthy political, economic and social policies can cause international investors to flood into a country, thereby creating economic opportunities. He encouraged Bahamians to change their mindset from a borrow and spend mentality to one of saving and investing.
The economy of The Bahamas grew 5% during 2000, with a growth rate of some 3.5% projected for 2001.