- The following statement was released by One Bermuda Alliance Senator Nick Kempe, Shadow Minister of Finance
Government must urgently outline its economic stimulus plan and explain how it will increase the resident population as Bermuda cannot afford more falls in the retail sales volume without jeopardizing Bermudians’ jobs.
Earlier this week, we had Walton Brown telling us that GDP was up – even though that was due to OBA initiatives such as the airport development – but what he did not address in his press conference was that consumer spending was down.
The GDP report, for the third quarter of 2018, said, ‘After adjusting for inflation, household final consumption decreased with households spending less year-over-year on clothing, electricity, motor vehicles and fuel’.
Now we have further confirmation of declining consumer confidence and spending with the latest retail sales volume figures – which show an eighth successive fall.
But despite this, Government is still intent on introducing even more taxes to maintain the size of Government despite a falling population requiring fewer public services.
Increasing the tax burden at a time when the local economy is in an extremely fragile state is counter-productive as more taxes take money out of people’s pockets that could be spent in Bermuda. One proposed tax will increase the cost of foreign currency, making all retail goods more expensive as well as unfairly affect employees of local businesses earning in Bermuda dollars.
Retail is a protected sector that employs many Bermudians. Lack of action to boost the local economy will inevitably cost Bermudians their jobs. Where is Government’s economic stimulus plan to stop that happpening?