Update on the Economic Recovery Plan

Mr. Speaker, you will recall that the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) combines fiscal responsibility with a clear path to growth, employment, and more significant economic development under seven themes.

Mr. Speakeracross the themes, there are 30 commitments, and several Stakeholders inside and outside the Government are involved in the planning and executing of the various initiatives. Of the 30 Commitments, just over two-thirds or about 20 initiatives, have been successfully implemented with measurable outcomes and over 80% of the initiatives are on track. The ongoing implementation of these initiatives has contributed to greater levels of economic activity and the expansion of Bermuda’s economy. Some of these includes the following initiatives in particular:

  1. Economic Investment Residential Certificates
  2. Extension of the Temporary Residency Certificate (1-year)
  3. Online SME Marketplace
  4. Establish Sub-Sea Communications Sector
  5. Implement Minimum Wages
  6. Lower Interest Rates to Reduce Mortgage Costs
  7. BEDC COVID Support to S&M Sized Businesses
  8. Increase Affordable Housing
  9. Uptown Development Authority in NE Hamilton
  10. Youth Employment Strategy
  11. Reduce Medicine Cost
  12. Energy Regulatory Sandbox
  13. Economic Empowerment Zone (EEZ) in SE Hamilton


Mr. SpeakerSome of the initiatives remain a work in progress due to the enormity of the projects. One such example is the Tynes Bay Waste to Energy project, a massive infrastructure project of national significance. This project involves a partnership with KPMG, working with the Ministry of Public Works Technical Officers to bring this plan forward. The anticipated outcome is a refurbished Tynes Bay that burns trash more efficiently, reuses wastewater, produces energy to power the plant and enables the Government to sell surplus energy to BELCO. This initiative also allows young Bermudian engineers to gain valuable project management and development skills as they work to complete the planning and delivery of this state-of-the-art facility.

Mr. Speaker, a key stakeholder in the execution of Economic Recovery plan initiatives is the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), tasked with leading the development and implementation of several projects within the ERP. The BEDC leads the establishment of an online marketplace for small and medium- sized local businesses. I am happy to share that following the completion of the IT platform and the enabling mechanisms, BEDC launched the initiative last month during Global Entrepreneurship Week. This platform is an excellent opportunity for Bermuda's entrepreneurs to grow their brands locally and internationally, and I encourage and welcome BEDC's 300 registered businesses to participate.

Mr. Speaker, the BEDC has also experienced success with establishing residential developments in the east, west and central parish Economic Empowerment Zones. While initiatives of this type take time to gain the desired traction, significant steps have been made, particularly with properties in the Pembroke EEZ. Overseas investors have expressed interest and made material commitments to redeveloping an existing property in the south northeast of the City of Hamilton. This success will be a catalyst for additional investments.

Mr. SpeakerBermuda has been learning to live with the long-term impacts of the pandemic and COVID-19. While navigating the pandemic's uncertainty, the Government ensured that small businesses received the support they needed to survive. Through the highly efficient BEDC, the Government provided millions of dollars in financial relief so that small and medium-sized businesses and their staff could remain afloat during that difficult time.

Mr. Speakerthe Government has established the required regulatory framework to create the foundation for specific economic investment. The Government has done its due diligence to ensure that ERP initiatives are enabled or enshrined in law to help provide investment and economic opportunities that support the creation of jobs, increase the population, and offer investment opportunities. Recently, for example, establishing the sub-sea communications sector resulted in Google taking advantage of the opportunity provided through the new legislation to invest in Bermuda.

Mr. Speaker, Another completed and ongoing ERP initiative is the excellent work done to reduce the cost of many on-island medicines. It was instrumental that the Bermuda Health Council created a National Drug Formulary to improve decision- making. This Formulary will continue to review and determine with stakeholders what will be considered critical medicines. Obtaining essential data on the use and pricing of medications from pharmacies and wholesalers will help improve access, set maximum pricing, and reduce consumer costs of such medicines.

Mr. Speakeranother success story emerging from the ERP is the recent announcement of the completion of additional affordable housing units under the leadership of the Bermuda Housing Corporation. It was in the works for a short while, and the Government was pleased to add this economic activity to the market. More importantly, adding affordable homes for Bermudians is an ongoing objective. Through continued infrastructure investment, the Ministry of Public Works will increase affordable housing stock throughout the country.

Mr. Speaker, another major success of the Recovery Plan has been the international response to the Economic Investment Residential Certificate. This initiative, which has proven very attractive, is now in its third year and has seen several individuals and their families take advantage of it. The measurable economic benefit of this initiative is currently standing at just over $450M, with over 111 persons holding an Economic Investment Residential Certificate.

Mr. Speakerthe Government's introduction of a minimum wage of $16.40 per hour earlier this year was a major success story because the volume of low-paying jobs is critical to our service-based economy. Our economy thrives off a wide range of low-skilled services, and when set against the cost of living, introducing a minimum wage was a reasonable conclusion. Although the feedback from stakeholders is good, it may be too soon to fully assess the extent to which the forecasted impact is appropriately appreciated.

Mr. Speakerregarding the Economic Recovery Plan's employment-related actions, the success, especially that experienced by Bermuda's young people, has been impressive. The Department of Workforce Development has created several training opportunities for Bermuda's young people. This year, young Bermudians have taken advantage of asphalt training, solar panel construction and installation and several International Business and local company employee Internship programmes. These training opportunities directly lead to employment opportunities.

Mr. Speakerif one wonders how successful the Economic Recovery Plan has been, plenty of stakeholders from various interests and work areas can attest to its impact on themselves and our economy:

  • Ask one of our Digital Nomads that has relocated to Bermuda within the last two or three years.
  • Ask a small business owner that made it through the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic.
  • Ask one of the overseas investors who holds an Economic Investment Residential Certificate.
  • Ask the small and medium-sized businesses that can trade online with little to no overhead costs.
  • Ask the young Bermudians who have recently completed professional technical training through the Department of Workforce Development and have an entry-level job to wake up to each morning.
  • Ask the service staff on minimum wages who work diligently to keep our hotels and restaurants thriving.
  • Ask the families that have recently signed off on the occupancy of an affordable home for the first time, thanks to the Bermuda Housing Corporation.
  • Ask a young Bermudian who now owns their own home for the first time in their life.

Mr. Speaker, the Economic Recovery Plan is paying and will continue to pay dividends to Bermuda. Almost two-thirds of the 30 initiatives are actively engaged in the desired level of economic activity. Many of the initiatives will remain ongoing, while some, like the COVID relief programme, will fall away. The plan focuses on creating a thriving environment for the creation of jobs. These jobs will directly impact population numbers, and this population will generate the economic activity that our economy needs.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.