Above: Bahamian Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder at the Nautilus Plant (BIS Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
While manufacturing Bahamian goods for export and local distribution is an important part of developing the country’s economy, energy costs are a significant impediment, according to Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry Ryan Pinder.
“One thing we are looking to do as a government is to come up with a plan for manufacturers, because manufacturers are high-energy users and it’s a big cost item for them,” Pinder said during a recent tour of Bahamian manufacturing plants. “Where we can have and amend any necessary legislation to allow a certain portion of self-generation for the plants, [that] will bring proportionately down the energy costs.”
The government would also consider providing other incentives, either by separate legislation or by the Industries Encouragement Act, he said.
“From a policy point of view,” he said. “We’re in discussions on that.”
The trip, which featured a visit to the Airport Industrial Park near Windsor Field, included discussions with manufacturers on the kind of legislation they might prefer.
Pinder asked the manufacturers about the possibility of solar legislation that would allow them to partially self-generate electricity, with the same incentives on solar energy as under the Industries Encouragement Act.
“We as a government are very cognizant, and the first thing we will do [is] to reinstate the duty incentives for manufacturers under the Industries Encouragement Act,” he said. “We know that’s not enough. We know the next step is now coming up with an energy policy that’s viable for manufacturers.”