Minister Updates: Short-Term Stimulus Program

March 15, 2022 | 7 Comments

29 of the 43 Short-Term Stimulus projects are either started or completed representing a spend of around $6 million, and 92 new jobs were created, Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch said.

Speaking in the House of Assembly, the Minister said, “I will provide the House with a report on the Short-Term Stimulus Program that was launched in December of 2020 in the wake of the economic downturn sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic. The aim of the program was to provide economic stimulus to the private sector in order to retain and boost employment within the community.

“Participation in the program was advertised in an open tendering process – and some 94 companies signed up to take part,” he said. “Of the 94 that signed up, 51 were defined as small sized businesses, while 21 were defined as medium sized and 22 large sized.

“A total of 43 projects made up the $13M dollars of approved spending under the program. Some of these projects were further broken down into various sub-contracts to maximize the spreading of funds.

“I’m pleased to report that to date, 29 of the 43 projects are either started or completed representing a spend of $6,028,912.75 or 45 percent of the total allocated program budget. Through the program we have been able to determine that 92 new jobs were created – with 74 being Bermudians, or 82%.

“With the effects of the pandemic now waning, and I pray it continues to head in that direction, we will need to evaluate the impetus for the program to continue. However, the framework it has created, providing a register of small companies to bid on government work, is something that will remain and even be improved upon in the future more-easily.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I will provide the House with a report on the Short-Term Stimulus Program that was launched in December of 2020 in the wake of the economic downturn sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic. The aim of the program was to provide economic stimulus to the private sector in order to retain and boost employment within the community.

Mr. Speaker, you will recall, the Ministry of Public Works compiled a list of “shovel ready” projects that were able to be executed almost immediately. The project selection criteria were projects that would maximize the employment of the private sector while also providing much needed refreshing to some of the island’s neglected infrastructure.

Participation in the program was advertised in an open tendering process – and some 94 companies signed up to take part. The companies that participated ranged in services from landscaping to architectural design, project management, construction etc. Of the 94 that signed up, 51 were defined as small sized businesses, while 21 were defined as medium sized and 22 large sized.

Mr. Speaker, a total of 43 projects made up the $13M dollars of approved spending under the program. Some of these projects were further broken down into various sub-contracts to maximize the spreading of funds. For example, the roadside vegetation clearing program accounts for only three [3] projects on the list but provided for at least 30 or more individual contracts of opportunity for the private sector to bid on. I must note that this was not new money, but money already budgeted in the Ministry of Public Works that was being redirected to achieve the aim of the program.

Mr. Speaker, to ensure a fair and equitable allocation of the stimulus funding across the participating businesses, the Ministry maintained a register of approved contractors and awarded contracts strategically to ensure that no one company monopolized the project list.

Once a company obtained a project, they would be rotated to the bottom of the list to allow other companies an opportunity for work. To date, 30 of the 94 companies have received contracts and while not all companies have received work, the Ministry is endeavoring to increase that number with the type of work available. For example, the fencing and landscaping contracts were faster to tender and execute compared to some of the building renovation works still in the pipeline.

Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to report that to date, 29 of the 43 projects are either started or completed representing a spend of $6,028,912.75 or 45 percent of the total allocated program budget. Through the program we have been able to determine that 92 new jobs were created – with 74 being Bermudians, or 82%.

Mr. Speaker, this was a new venture for the government, sparked by an extraordinary event, and while there was a steep learning curve, I’m pleased that the Ministry of Public Works in conjunction with the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation [BEDC] rose to the challenge and was able to provide much needed opportunity for the private sector at a very difficult time.

Not only did this program allow companies to retain employees, but in some cases, it led to hiring new ones as well. In that sense, the program did achieve its aim and was a success.

With the effects of the pandemic now waning, and I pray it continues to head in that direction, we will need to evaluate the impetus for the program to continue. However, the framework it has created, providing a register of small companies to bid on government work, is something that will remain and even be improved upon in the future more-easily. This will ensure that all business, especially small business will have access to opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to thank the companies that participated in the program thus far and the teams at Public Works and the BEDC that brought it all together. It is truly a testament that the government can pivot to partner with the private sector to meet the needs of the community in creative ways.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (7)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    If this supports better quality, and projects being completed on budget and on-time in the private sector, perhaps the Minister would further consider reducing the size of our bloated civil service, certainly in the area of public works, and privatise/outsource?

  2. Whi says:

    Why didn’t you stand up when your time to stand up was needed ?

  3. watching says:

    Thank you to the government for this stimulus programme which has put money in peoples’ pockets and therefore into the economy. We appreciate you.

    • saud says:

      You have no clue how the economy works.
      That’s why you’re in so much debt.

      • Ringmaster says:

        He’s probably sent in his application to be next Minister of Finance to replace the current one (not Curtis).

  4. Bob says:

    And why is Burch allowed to be absent since July last year, and still not seen anywhere.

    Time to go Burch.

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