Full OBA Response To The 2021/22 Budget

March 5, 2021

[Updated with full response] In advance of his formal response on Friday [March 5] in the House of Assembly, OBA Leader and Shadow Finance Minister Cole Simons provided key highlights of the OBA’s response to the 2021/22 Budget Statement.

Mr. Simons commented: “Many residents see the budget as very aspirational and one that lacks detail. It is likely the most non-specific budget statement ever presented. Where is the PLP’s detailed Economic Recovery Plan? It’s as though the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was viewed as a ‘Get -Out-Of-Jail’ free card, for the pre-existing economic challenges facing Bermuda.”

The highlights as provided by the OBA:

1.Bermuda’s Debt: Bermuda’s annual debt and unfunded liability are completely out of control. We can expect that our national liability will hover around $4.7 billion dollars during the next fiscal year.

2.Education: The PLP government gave no attention to the development of our young people. Instead, government spent resources on the development of the cannabis industry, with very little said by the Minister in support of our youth.

OBA Recommendation: Create an independent education authority and establish a Continuing Professional Development Center for teachers.

3.COVID-19 was a shock to our economy. It was a stress test that revealed that Bermuda’s fiscal management under the Progressive Labour Party was seriously lacking.

OBA Recommendation: We believe that this economic shock will provide opportunities for bold, new initiatives, requiring us to revisit tried and proven programmes, which deserve immediate attention, without political bias. This could include the introduction of fiscal responsibility legislation with a cap on the annual expenditure growth, and a cap on the debt to GDP ratio.

4. Create a Nimble Government: Bermuda’s government is disproportionately larger than it needs to be to conduct its business and to deliver necessary services to taxpayers.

5.Immigration: The PLP government is finally accepting the fact that a good immigration policy is a good economic policy.

OBA Recommendation: The government must embark on an immigration review that will help to expand Bermuda’s workforce, and in turn, form the foundation for Bermuda’s economic growth. It will also create a pathway to residency and citizenship, while protecting the interest of Bermudians and Bermudian jobs. Immigration reform just makes good business sense!

6.Healthcare: Government must work with all sectors involved in the delivery and financing of healthcare in Bermuda, to reduce the cost of healthcare, tackle chronic illness and ensure equal access to care.

7.Employment: Our economic review indicated that 1935 jobs were lost in 2020, which is a 5.6% decrease.

OBA Recommendation: The government should provide more resources to foster and support entrepreneurial opportunities, especially for our young people who account for 46% of the overall fall in employment during the pandemic.

8.On The Global Stage: Bermuda continues to have an uphill battle when conducting business in the E.U., especially after Brexit. The fact is that we have no heavyweight friends or influencers who can successfully lobby on our behalf at the national and international level.

OBA Recommendation: Bermuda should form a strategic alliance with members listed on the E.U.’s blacklist, influential lobbyists, NGO’s and other influencers, to leverage their collective economic power, their global influence and contributions to the international financial markets.

Update March 5, 2.22pm: The full OBA Reply to 2021 Budget follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (3)

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  1. kevin says:

    Its really unfortunate that CoVid gave the current government an excuse and a scape goat for our current condition. What is apparent to many is that we have been on a slippery slope for 19 years of the 23 years the plp have been governing. Getting us back on track is virtually impossible when you don’t have vision or foresight. Fintech is where burt is placing his faith , but what else ?
    we are in so deep the least we can do is stop digging. Dickinson bought us time by playing the shell shuffle game but sooner or later we will need to pay up

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    “OBA Recommendation: Create an independent education authority and establish a Continuing Professional Development Center for teachers.”

    Yeah, right. In case you didn’t notice the PLP does not like independent authorities. Look at what happened to the Gaming Authority and the Tourism Authority.

  3. Guy Carri says:

    Go lay down. You and your team are sleeping at the wheel.

    I’m saying this and I’m not a fan of green…