PM: Investors find it difficult to invest here
Freeport News Reporter
Prime Minister Perry Christie said he expects to receive a comprehensive report from the Malaysia based Genting Energy on steps the country can take to lower the cost of electricity and water before the end of the year.
Representatives from Genting Energy were in Grand Bahama earlier this month as part of a week-long trip to the country to conduct a free feasibility study aimed at helping reduce the cost of electricity and water.
The prime minister, who was on Grand Bahama last week to announce plans to reopen the Reef Village that closed in March 2011 because of low occupancy, noted that the cost of electricity throughout the country is an impediment for businesses.
"As Hutchison, Sunwing, and the Government engaged in these negotiations, all parties recognized that notwithstanding the attractiveness of The Bahamas as a major tourism destination, the high cost of operating hotels and other businesses in The Bahamas, particularly in Grand Bahama and in the Family Islands has eroded our competitive edge with other countries," he said.
Christie said the Government is presently working to address the high cost of electricity and water that present themselves as a great challenge.
"Genting Energy of Malaysia, a division of the Genting resort, gaming, travel, agricultural conglomerate, which has recently invested in a significant gaming project in Bimini is well underway with a study and recommendations aimed at significantly reducing the cost of electricity and water in The Bahamas," he said.
Christie said, he had already been briefed by Genting representatives - after they had been to several islands gathering information - on workable scenarios that could help the country.
In addition, Christie said, the Government has received several private sector energy proposals on an almost weekly basis and the Government is retaining energy advisors to guide it through the process.
"Those proposals range from causing BEC in New Providence to save $100 million a year, causing alternative energy resources in Freeport, converting garbage to electricity, a whole range of stuff," he said.
Christie said the Government is hopeful that Genting's study will result in ways to significantly lower the cost of electricity because it is the most intimidating obstacle to development.
"Investors find it very difficult to invest here given the cost of electricity and we are told it's over 30 percent of the operating cost of any kind of enterprise here," he said.
© 2012 The Freeport News