Bermuda Economic Growth and Development Strategy Released

Bermuda Economic Growth and Development Strategy Released

About Brian HoldippBrian Holdipp

Brian Holdipp is Counsel in the firm’s corporate practice group. His practice encompasses many areas of general corporate and commercial law, with specialist expertise in securities, joint ventures, corporate restructurings and cross-border financings. Mr. Holdipp also advises on partnerships.

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Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, recently released Bermuda’s economic development strategy for 2023 – 2027 (the “EDS”). The document consolidates initiatives underway to drive economic growth and investment in the country, aiming to create a more diversified economy through policies that build on the island’s unique strengths while also addressing key challenges.

The purpose of the EDS is to ensure that all current and future economic initiatives are in alignment with strategic priorities in order to dynamise the economy to its fullest potential.

The strategic initiatives contain actionable items in regard to:

  • Immigration, emigration, new business development and labour policy changes for current and future sectors;
  • Driving investment, innovation and improved opportunities for a sustainable Bermuda; and
  • Expansion of current and future sectors and activities to promote sustainable growth, increased job creation and accelerated recovery.

The five high-level strategic priority areas laid out in the EDS framework are:

  1. Local and International Business Expansion and Retention;
  2. Attracting businesses and promoting investments into Bermuda;
  3. Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development;
  4. Continued execution of the Economic Recovery Plan; and
  5. Investing in People.

Recognizing that the three largest economic sectors in Bermuda are International Business, Real Estate, and Financial and Insurance which together represent 56% of Bermuda’s economy, the EDS places focus on retention and expansion of business activity in these areas. Because these industries also enable greater levels of economic activity in other sectors within the economy, the view is that any expansion should also result in growth throughout the economy more widely. To help realize growth, the Government will continue to work with industry to identify barriers, mitigate risk and reduce external global threats. Given the need to grow the Island’s working population, the expansion of the Real Estate sector is seen as critical since more housing will be required to accommodate a greater number of individuals living and working in Bermuda. To that end, Government is targeting the development of new residential accommodation at Morgan’s Point, expanding residential development opportunities in the City of Hamilton and funding an enlargement of the stock of affordable public housing units.

In order to attract new businesses and foreign investment, the EDS commits the Government to regularly engage with all sectors of the business community, support business development in key industries and reduce outdated regulation that may hamper business expansion. The EDS targets hotel development, subsea cables, renewable energy, and space and satellite as areas best suited for foreign investment.
The EDS sensibly emphasizes the need to leverage Bermuda’s value proposition as a sophisticated business jurisdiction in an ideal geographic location which features not only a quality workforce and the ease of doing business, but also offers economic, social and political stability and a high quality of life to its residents.

With a significant increase in the working population in Bermuda – the Government has targeted the addition of almost 8,500 persons over the next 5 years – growth opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises are anticipated. The EDS calls for the development of an entrepreneurship policy framework which includes, among other things, formulating a national entrepreneurship strategy, enhancing entrepreneurship education and skills development, facilitating technology exchange and innovation and improving access to finance.

The continued execution of the Economic Recovery Plan developed in 2021 is another strategic priority area. The policy initiatives under Bermuda’s Economic Recovery Plan focus on areas with the highest impact on Bermuda’s medium-term economic growth and employment through new industries such as medical tourism, enhancing existing infrastructure such as the Tynes Bay waste management facility and developing legal and regulatory frameworks for digital assets and fintech.

To implement the strategic area of priority of investing in people, the Government will put resources into supporting the development of a skilled workforce, improving productivity, and promoting lifelong learning. This will involve providing opportunities for retraining and skills development with a focus on digital technology and the development of skilled tradesmen through apprenticeship programs. All of this will be achieved through the execution of a national workforce development strategy and the creation of a national certification and apprenticeship program.

Investing in people will also involve stabilizing the local workforce by reducing emigration, incentivizing those who have left to return and boosting the working and residential population through the regularization of the position of long-term residents by amending immigration laws to lower the eligibility requirements for individuals to obtain Permanent Resident Certificates and allowing permanent residents to equitably participate in the ownership of local businesses.

Overall, Bermuda’s Economic Development Strategy 2023 – 2027 seeks to create an environment for stable and sustainable economic growth. Optimistically, with the collective effort and goodwill of the public and private sector, the implementation of the EDS will be a tool to usher in a new era of widespread prosperity in Bermuda, one of the world’s premier international finance services jurisdictions.