The Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham. Prime Minister of The Bahamas, presented his annual “[New Year’s Address](” to the nation tonight.

Under the theme *“Investing in the Bahamian People”,* the Prime Minister reported on what he termed national accomplishments and challenges during the past year, while providing a broader sense of the direction of The Bahamas for 2012.

*“Despite the severity of the global economic crisis on The Bahamas, we are still a most fortunate country”,* he said, noting that not a single civil servant has been laid off as a result of the global economic downturn. The Bahamas, in fact, increased social assistance, particularly for more vulnerable Bahamians, while significantly strengthening social protections with the addition of two landmark benefits: an unemployment benefit and the national prescription drug benefit.

Maintaining that The Bahamas is on the right track and making significant and meaningful progress, the national leader also spoke to improving economic prospects globally and locally. For 2011 Bahamian economic growth was estimated at about 2%, with projections for 2012 at 2.8%.

The Prime Minister also spoke to various initiatives relative to improving urban development and the achievement of important national goals – including job creation and entrepreneurship growth – through targeted programmes.

He reiterated, “…*we are a fortunate country and we are moving in the right direction.”*