By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Bahamas has attracted more than $700m in foreign capital investment over the past 12 months, the prime minister said yesterday.
Dr Hubert Minnis, during his contribution to the 2018/2019 budget debate, said: "Total foreign capital investment in The Bahamas beginning May 2017 until the present date is estimated at $767.44m. This capital investment is projected to generate 6,004 construction jobs for Bahamian contractors, and 8,040 operational positions within the next five years."
The prime minister said New Providence had attracted the greatest share of such inflows with investments in resorts, condominium developments, farming and cement manufacturing.
"The New Providence market is buoyed by the $20m purchase of the Hurricane Hole land and marina property on Paradise Island by Sterling Hurricane Hole. The property will be developed into the Hurricane Hole Residential Community Resort and Marina, and will expend an estimated $194m through its completion in 2025," said Dr Minnis.
He also pointed to the relocation of Shell Western Supply and Trading's operations from Barbados to The Bahamas. "The company is involved in proprietary international trading in commodities. An estimated $3m will be expended to establish the new office on New Providence," the prime minister disclosed.
"The Eleuthera resort and residential property markets have been the most active among the Family Islands in recent months, making up a substantial amount of the total investments. The $4 million Harbour Island Resort and Marina, with an estimated capital investment of $55 million, will add to the ultra-luxury resort and marina product offerings on Harbour Island.
"Nearby Man Island, will experience a newly-constructed 15-room hotel. Unicorn Cay Development is in the initial stages of developing a second-home residential community in Central Eleuthera. A new cement plant will be built on Eleuthera to augment the supply of concrete products for the fast-growing construction industry on the island."
Dr Minnis said government-approved investments in Grand Bahama are heavily concentrated in tourism and the digital economy. "Grand Palm Beach expended $42 million for the acquisition of the former Ginn sur Mer stalled resort, marina and airport development at West End Grand Bahama," he said.
"Economic activity in west Grand Bahama is being supported by the Blue Marlin Cove resort and marina expansion project valued at approximately $1.2 million. East Grand Bahama was approved for a $37 million resort hotel and commercial development, which will include a world-class motor sport and karting tracks. Other Grand Bahama investments focused on pea rock production and the purchase and redevelopment of distressed rental properties into boutique resorts in Freeport city."
Dr Minnis told Parliament that as a result of the Commercial Enterprises Act 2017, and investment promotion tours in the US, the Bahamas attracted new businesses in financial services, biomedical health facilities, information technology and energy.
"Inflows in the tourism sector remained steady, with the expansion of boutique marina resorts, new-build hotels and condominium complex, and the acquisition of stalled mega resort properties," said Dr Minnis.
"There is also an uptick of inflows in agriculture and entertainment and services, with offerings such as motor sport and karting track facilities, theme parks, farm production, and a seafood processing plant."