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Economy On Bullish Path - Premier

Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands Hon. Washington Misick has declared that all the economic signs are pointing to an economy on the rebound.

In a national address on Thursday, to mark his government’s 200 days in office, Premier Misick pointed out that GDP growth which was forecast to be in the range of 2.1 percent was now showing signs of climbing up to four percent.

He said the main drivers of the expected GDP growth are hotels, restaurants, and real estate.

“The outstanding performance by the hotel, restaurant, and real estate sectors during the first 8 months of 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020 is driving the economic rebound,” the premier said.

He explained that preliminary figures showed that during the first half of this year visitor arrivals vaulted by an astounding 34.5 percent when compared with the same period last year.

He said merchandise imports during the first half of this year totalled $215.6 million. This, he said, represents an increase of $30.6 million or 16.9 percent when compared with the same period in 2020.

As a result of the economic performance of the various sectors, the premier boasted that the recurrent revenue of $165.4 million in August, exceeded budget by $39.5 million, noting that the main drivers were Stamp Duty on land transactions, which totalled $44m, Hotel and Restaurant Tax, which netted $36m and Customs processing and Import Duties, which snared $42m.

“Also, Recurrent Expenditure of $100 million is $21.5 million below budget. This is mainly due to the late passage of the estimates. We expect this trajectory to change as the year progresses,” the premier pointed out.

As a result of the burgeoning economy, Premier Misick expressed that there would be no need for crediting support the budgetary spending, as the government has turned an operating deficit into a healthy surplus.

“Our Net Operating Surplus is $61 million. There is no need to borrow to support the budget at this time due to increased revenues and lower than expected expenditure,” he said.

As it relates to Foreign Direct Investment, the premier pointed to several that have come on stream.

“Development Agreements and MOU’s with a value of nearly $73 million have been approved. Developments include Windsong in Provo, East Bay in South Caicos, and Beach Enclave in Provo.

“Jobs will number 150 during the construction phase and 100 permanent jobs in the operational phase. The MOUs are: Aismare - $26m in the redevelopment of the North Caicos airport and Marathon Ltd., a resort development project in Provo,” he said.

Turning to Micro Small Medium Enterprises or MSME, Premier Misick said his government was making a special effort to provide support, adding that grants totalling $160, 873 have been approved.

He further noted that amendments to MSME programme were being finalized and the following will be implemented over the next few weeks:

  • Shorter application forms and a more streamlined process

  • Expanded priority areas

  • Greater technical support and program support for growing businesses

  • Greater marketing support for start-ups

  • More opportunities to create linkages

“In addition, over $1.25 million has been allocated to provide support through the Development Finance Institution (DFI), partial credit guarantee funding and a credit union. Many MSMEs lack collateral to get loans to expand their businesses. COVID-19 has made this worse. They need access to capital and affordable banking, insurance, and financial services,” Premier Misick argued.


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