Bahamas Needs $1bn For Short-Term Infrastructure

Wednesday 25th, September 2013 / 09:35 Published by

The Bahamas will likely need $1 billion in short-term infrastructure investment, a senior accountant said, telling Tribune Business that the energy sector was “an absolute priority”.

Simon Townend, a Bahamas-based KPMG partner and managing director of its corporate finance arm in the Caribbean, said the Bahamas “must stay ahead of the curve” on infrastructure in order to remain competitive with other Caribbean countries.

In an interview with Tribune Business at the 2013 KPMG Island Infrastructure Summit, Mr Townend added that the cost of energy was key to this nation’s economic development.

“An absolute priority right now is the energy sector. That’s a big area. Investment in that sector is very important. Managing it in the right way with private expertise is also important,” said Mr Townend.

KPMG has been hired by the Government to managed its tender process as it seeks to reform the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC). Mr Townend recently told Tribune Business that the Government had ultimately received nine proposals to take over operations at the country’s major electricity supplier.

Recently, Mr Townend said more infrastructural investment in education was also necessary, as well as in other areas such as transport and aviation.

“Education needs some serious investment, obviously we are expanding the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), but there is still more investment in health care needed. We’ve got a nice new airport in New Providence but there are other islands where a new airport is needed and improvements are necessary,” said Mr Townend.

He added that with the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector set to come in 2014 via an end to the Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s (BTC) mobile monopoly, more investment in that sector could be expected.

“I think we will see some more investment coming in telecoms next year. Whoever wins that license is going to be investing a lot of money to start to compete,” said Mr Townend.

“There is still a lot to do in the Bahamas. We have to stay ahead of the curve. There are lots of countries looking to compete with us. It’s not just about supporting the population and its needs, but it’s also to retain competitiveness as a country.”

By Natario McKenzie
Tribune Business Reporter

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