How will the Government spend taxpayer money?
SPECIAL PROJECTS FUNDED WITH TAXPAYERS' MONEY
The Government plans to spend taxpayer money on a number of special projects that will deliver benefits to the Bahamian people. These projects fall under the following categories: 21st Century Infrastructure, Digital Transformation, Inclusive Education, Jobs and Economic Growth, and the Green Revolution.
21st Century Infrastructure
Building a New Foundation for Growth
Although the Budget provides for a modest increase in capital expenditure, several major infrastructure projects are already underway or have been funded, and will commence and/or ramp up this year, including those related to renewable energy, medical facilities, national security infrastructure and digital infrastructure. The Government's focus is targeting infrastructure projects that can deliver a return on investment and create ownershp opportunities for Bahamians, such as the $17 million Street Light Retrofitting Project.
Digital Transformation & Modernization
Delivering Government Efficiency & Productivity
The Budget makes provision for the newly expanded Department of Transformation and Digitization from what was formerly the Department of Information Technology. Together with its allocation in the Capital Budget, this department will receive additional allocations of some $15 million. Some of this increase takes into consideration the consolidation of IT related support services under this agency. However, a large portion of this sum is being allocated for the roll out of the government's digital transformation strategy.
Inclusive Education from 2-to-22
Breaking the Poverty Cycle
The Budget provides funding to considerably expand the Government’s commitment to both pre-school and tertiary education. Collectively, an additional $20 million has been allocated in this budget to these related initiatives. Additionally, the Government is commencing the first phase of a $9.3 million dollar project to enhance the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), with an emphasis on upgrading infrastructure. The Government's focus on education will help to break the cycle of poverty that exists in many Bahamian households.
Jobs and Economic Growth
Citizen Empowerment and Ease of Doing Business
The Government's Ease of Doing Business efforts, along with its investments in entrepreneurship and small business, are helping to make it easier for people to start a business, stay in business and to conduct personal business with the Government. The Budget allocation to the small business sector has increased from $5 million to $8.5 million, inclusive of capital and recurrent outlays. These funds will provide for operations and grants, as well as to underwrite loan guarantees, and provide for equity financing. This $8.5 million will be leveraged to provide as much as $12 million in financing for Bahamian MSMEs.
The Green Revolution
Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Future
The Government is planning major investments this year in green technology that will bring long-term savings to the pockets of Bahamians and to the Government. Over the next 8 to 10 years, the Government plans to inject $170 million into new initatives that introduce commercial scale solar energy opportunities throughout The Bahamas, with particular emphasis on the Family Islands. Other plans include a Street Light Retrofitting Project and a renwable energy smart street light grid.
These initial small steps will have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of citizens. It will remove so much of the unnecessary stress and aggravation that citizens have suffered for years, but for which no solutions were ever implemented."