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Election Focus On The Economy

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

IN THE wake of a global economic downturn which brought great challenges over the last five years, the FNM, PLP and DNA each propose a different path to restoring the well-being of the country.

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PRIME MINISTER Hubert Ingraham last week during his visit to Kemps Bay. The FNM is aiming to boost creative industries to help the economy, while the PLP aims for job creation in tourism. The DNA aims to reduce the cost of living in the Bahamas.

The Free National Movement, in its "Manifesto 2012" zeroed in on the promotion of creative industries, including: advertising, architecture, art and craft, design, fashion, film, music, the performing arts, publishing, software, television and radio, video games and the culinary arts.

The FNM believes supporting these industries will not only boost job creation, but also help tourism and strengthen the cultural self-identity of the Bahamas.

Since 1992, the governing party noted, it has supported museums and art galleries, and rewarded hotels that display Bahamian products, art and music. Now, the FNM says, it wants to pass laws creating rewards and incentives for home-grown creative enterprises.

The party also hopes to encourage the redevelopment of the Bay Street properties formerly used as docks and warehouses into aesthetically pleasing commercial and residential spaces.

The FNM wants to sign trade agreements facilitating access to foreign markets and grant incentives for filmmakers working both locally and internationally.

Meanwhile, according to the DNA's "Vision", the way forward in is to reduce the cost of living in the Bahamas.

This can be achieved, the party said, by: replacing duty tariffs with sales and service tax; reducing the cost of energy by using alternative sources; and creating a more competitive banking system.

The DNA also has plans to diversify the economy, especially in terms of encouraging agriculture and mariculture - thereby reducing the country's $500 million food import bill at the same time.

The party also wants to promote religious, medical, sports and cultural tourism.

The PLP's "Charter for Governance" prioritises job creation as the key to economic improvement.

If elected, the PLP says it will create jobs through more effective promotion of the Bahamas as a tourist destination.

To this end, the party plans to designate the Ministry of Financial Services and Investments the official sales and marketing department for the Bahamas. The PLP also wants to remove the various impediments to business development.

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