Economy & Labour Ministry Budget: $73,937,000

March 10, 2022 | 1 Comment

“The newly created Ministry of Economy and Labour has received an estimated budget allocation of $73,937,000,” Minister of Economy and Labour Jason Hayward said.

Minister Hayward said, “The Ministry of Economy and Labour is instrumental to the future wellbeing of our country, and I am proud of the work we have accomplished over the last twelve months.

“However, there is much to do. We will continue our commitment to the people of Bermuda as we work to provide strategic direction and oversight over the various reform and improvement initiatives under our remit.

“My overview of this year’s budget will focus on achieving our mission of ensuring economic growth and development and expanding jobs.

“To that end, the newly created Ministry of Economy and Labour has received an estimated budget allocation of $73,937,000. This level of funding allows the Ministry and associated Department to continue to provide the full complement of core services.

“The Ministry’s budget includes the following departments.

  • Ministry Headquarters
  • Department of Statistics
  • Immigration
  • Financial Assistance
  • Workforce Development
  • Department of Economic Development

Department of Statistics

“A vital aspect of any plan is the measurement of its effectiveness. The Department of Statistics will provide accessible quality data that aligns with a culture of evidence-based decision-making for policies and programmes. This data will help the Ministry measure both the economy and the labour force. The Department will closely monitor the economy’s performance and demographics to enable the Ministry to make better-informed policy decisions regarding the ERP and other initiatives moving forward.

Department of Immigration

“The Department of Immigration’s three major areas of focus during the 2022/23 fiscal year include:

  • Revising the Work Permit Policy.
  • Continuing immigration reform.
  • Digitizing immigration applications, which is also an Economic Recovery Plan initiative.

“As it relates to immigration reform, the priorities include immigration legislation, immigration systems, and immigration enforcement. Strategic direction for progressing immigration reform has been mapped out, and a report with reform recommendations will be completed in the 2022 fiscal period.

Department of Financial Assistance

“The Department of Financial Assistance continues to assist individuals and their households with obtaining basic necessities. To that end, it is no surprise that requests for financial assistance substantially increased due to the COVID-19 crisis. To enhance the Department’s ability to more efficiently provide services, the development of a digital platform to enable online applications will be launched over the next fiscal period. Additionally, in 2021, Phase One of the Financial Assistance Reform included completing amendments to the Financial Assistance Act 2001, and the Department will enter Phase two during the next fiscal year.

“Moving forward, the recent recruitment of a Senior Social Worker will allow the Department to focus on providing clients with better access to essential services and agencies to assist with their development and wellbeing. As part of the ‘intake’ process, psychosocial assessment tools will be utilized to ensure overall client needs are determined and appropriately addressed.

“The Department will also implement legislative and policy changes supporting Financial Assistance Reform. These include allowing recipients to retain $2,500 of child support payments received and accept gifts of up to $2,500. Additionally, recipients will benefit from implementing Personal Employment Plans, among other policy changes.

“Through the Department of Financial Assistance, the Ministry has extended the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit programme to the 31st of August, 2022, for individuals who remain in need of financial support but do not qualify for FA benefits.

Department of Workforce Development

“The Department of Workforce Development will continue working toward its mission to develop a resilient workforce that will create a sustainable and resilient community.

“To achieve this, the Department will continue to implement the Jobs and Re-employment Strategy by sponsoring training, apprenticeship programs, internships, scholarships, and the implementation of the Youth Employment Strategy. The Department will continue to liaise and coordinate with industry stakeholders to develop and launch training in partnership with the industry.

“The Department remains committed to supporting Bermudians in their pursuit of tertiary education locally and at overseas educational institutions and is investing $350,000 towards scholarships.

“Also, in partnership with the Department of Financial Assistance, Workforce Development will empower its clients to become gainfully employed by creating Personal Employment Plans and the necessary support to ensure their success.

“Recognizing that many Bermudians are unemployed or underemployed, the Department will continue the work outlined in the National Re-employment Strategy. And in doing so, accomplish the overarching objective of facilitating education, training, and employment opportunities for Bermudians.

Labour Relations Section

“The Labour Relations Section has several initiatives in progress to expand employee rights and protections. In consultation with the Labour Advisory Council, a tripartite committee consisting of workers, employers and Government representatives, the Ministry of Labour will introduce necessary amendments to the Employment Act 2000. Furthermore, the Wage Commission is expected to provide its second Report on a living wage in the 2022 fiscal period, consultation will commence with stakeholders on a statutory minimum wage with the aim of tabling a Wage Bill in parliament.

Economic Development Department

“The Economic Development Department will continue to provide a wide range of services, education, and training to drive economic diversification and growth and promote Bermuda as the optimal jurisdiction for business across various industries. The Department has made tremendous progress in advancing initiatives with significant economic benefits to Bermuda. Some of these include Medical Tourism, Vertical Farming and the establishment of the Fisheries Development Centre. The Economic Development Department is also responsible for the Incentives For Job Makers programme, which earned over three hundred thousand dollars [$300,000] in revenues in 2021/22 and the Alien Land Licencing programme, which made the Government over nine million dollars [$9,000,000] in revenues in 2021/22.

Bermuda Economic Development Corporation [BEDC]

“BEDC will continue to provide support and services to entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises. The BEDC will prioritise numerous initiatives aimed to stimulate economic activity, including establishing the Uptown Development Authority. The Authority will oversee the regeneration of the Northeast Hamilton Economic Empowerment Zone by facilitating residential and mixed-use development projects.

Bermuda Business Development Agency [BDA]

“The Bermuda Business Development Agency will pursue targeted business development opportunities in key industries aligned with Bermuda’s value proposition and anticipated future growth potential. These include Risk and Insurance Solutions; High Net Worth Services; Asset Management; Technology; and Infrastructure, for example, hotel development, subsea cables, space and satellites, renewable energy, and the blue economy.

“In terms of what lies ahead in 2022, the BDA will be hosting or attending the following major events:

  • Inaugural Bermuda Risk Summit;
  • RISKWORLD in San Francisco;
  • Additional business development meetings in Silicon Valley, focusing on technology, climate risk finance and venture capital;
  • Executive Forum in New York City;
  • Bermuda Climate Summit by invitation only; and
  • Fourth Annual Bermuda Tech Summit, being held in person as part of Bermuda Tech Week.

Economic Recovery Plan

“As the Ministry responsible for the Economic Recovery Plan, it is critical that we remain laser-focused on the effective execution of priority initiatives. The ERP aims to combine fiscal responsibility with a clear path to growth, employment and greater economic equity.

“The proposed policies in the ERP have been prioritised to focus on investment and implementation capacity in areas with the highest impact on Bermuda’s medium-term economic growth and employment. Of the 31 initiatives identified as having the highest priority across Government, the Ministry’s four lead initiatives focus on a strategy of economic diversification, reducing socio-economic disparities and leveraging our natural resources and geographic advantages. These lead initiatives include the following:

  • 1. Rehabilitation of the Tyne’s Bay infrastructure;
  • 2. Development of Uptown Northeast Hamilton;
  • 3. Development of a Casino industry; and
  • 4. Development of Vertical Farming.

“A general overview of key highlights and status updates on Bermuda’s Economic Recovery Plan implementation is available online at gov.bm.

“In closing, it is anticipated that by creating a synergistic relationship between economy and labour, we can make meaningful progress to dismantling the barriers that prevent Bermudians from fully participating in our economy and create opportunities that enable us to build a Bermuda that works for all. Thank you.”

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Minister Hayward said, “The Ministry of Economy and Labour is instrumental to the future wellbeing of our country, and I am proud of the work we have accomplished over the last twelve months.”

    Bad news, Minister. Your newly created Ministry has only been around since 23 February 2022, that is 16 days, not 12 months.

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