The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Financial Services presented remarks at a Forum today to launch the Financial Services Industry Economic Impact Assessment. The event was hosted by the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB), sponsors of the Assessment.

Ms. Sheila Carey said the results of the research project by Oxford Economics confirmed what the financial services sector has long known and has been saying for some time: the indirect, induced and catalytic effects of financial services on the economy of The Bahamas are significant. *”Any industry which contributes 15 per cent or more to the Gross Domestic Product of The Bahamas is worthy and deserving of close attention by the Government and that is the reason why the Ministry of Labour and Financial Services was formed,”* she said. The Report indicates that approximately 27 per cent of Bahamian GDP is directly or indirectly attributable to the financial services industry; with financial services supporting over 22,000 jobs.

The data obtained by Oxford Economics in conjunction with information already received from the Branding and Strategy Survey, which was carried out by the Government with the support of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the financial services sector, will go a long way in providing empirical data on which future planning for the industry can be carried out, according to the Ministry.

Since 2002, when the Ministry was established, it has worked hand-in-hand with the private sector, and with BFSB in particular, to coordinate the development and promotion of the financial services industry. *”This undertaking is yet another demonstration of the Government’s commitment to private/public partnership,”* added the Permanent Secretary. The Ministry and the Central Bank of the Bahamas joined with BFSB member firms in funding the *”Economic Value of the Financial Services Industry in The Bahamas”* research project.

Oxford Economics will also conduct a Capacity Transfer Workshop for officers in the Department of Statistics to ensure that they will be able to continue to collect this type of information for the future. Ms. Carey concluded, *”In this way, we will be able to have available on a regular and consistent basis, pertinent data on the sector itself. In all of this, the Government sector will continue to dialogue with private sector on the way forward.”*