After a review of Friday’s Budget Statement, ABIC supports the Government’s commitment to a two track policy of growing the economy while taking actions to control and reduce government spending. ABIC Chairman George Hutchings stated, “ABIC supports the actions already taken and those promised to further develop a business friendly environment, and to promote investment and job creation. We encourage the implementation of targets and accountability in the management of our Island’s finances, and to close the budget deficit at a pace that the Bermuda community can withstand.”

Deficit and debt reductions can only be achieved with retention of existing business and jobs. International Business and support services provide more than 80% of our foreign exchange and one third of our air visitors, the majority of the jobs in this sector are held by Bermudians. We are pleased to see steps taken to encourage business growth. Our members have identified cost, immigration reform and a business friendly environment as key issues, and progress has been made in each of these areas. Recent amendments to the Incentives for Job Makers Act, revisions to the work permit policy along with a tax neutral budget set the stage for job creation. Public policy should create certainty and encourage investment while allowing us to improve the island’s competiveness and to grow jobs and Government revenues.

We commend the Government for their continued support of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, the establishment of the Bermuda Tourism Authority and their review of the 60/40 rule. Each of those initiatives is focused on the objectives to retain existing business and attract new businesses and revenue sources to the Island. We believe there is an urgent need to formulate and execute strategies which maintain and grow international business, tourism and additional revenue sources. Mr. Hutchings confirmed that, “ABIC continues to have an open and transparent dialogue with the Government with regard to the consultation on key international business policies as well as the sharing of information and data that will help to further develop Bermuda as the domicile of choice. And more importantly, ABIC wants to grow those jobs necessary to accelerate our economic recovery and provide the Bermudian people with employment opportunities to support their families.”

ABIC, the voice of international business represents more than 112 international companies incorporated in Bermuda.