UHY Bain & Associates

Real estate #1 driver of economic growth in 2018, DPM tells UHY Americas conference delegates

Private sector business propelled the much-needed turnaround in the Bahamian economy in 2018 with the real estate industry leading the shift from negative to modest growth, Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest said this week.

The deputy prime minister who also serves as minister of finance was addressing delegates who gathered from dozens of jurisdictions for the annual UHY-Associates Americas conference at Atlantis. According to local affiliate UHY Bain & Associates Managing Partner John Bain, whose office secured the international meeting of chartered accountants for The Bahamas, the deputy prime minister’s presence and assurance of greater use of scientific data mirrored goals of the group’s firms.

“Both the Deputy Prime Minister and UHY understand the need to accept new realities if we are to benefit from the plethora of opportunities that lie ahead,” said Bain. The finance minister and UHY speakers from New York, the UK and Switzerland agreed – the need for fraud detection and data analytics has never been greater at the same time that the public is demanding more transparency and efficiency. In the centre of it all is often the chartered accounting firm that is charged with detecting any irregularities that reveal themselves in numbers.

“I have seen the profession change in ways that were not imagined when I began my career in 1979,” said Bain, welcoming delegates and introducing the keynote speaker, Mr. Turnquest, who noted that Bain reminded him he was the first minister of finance to hold a degree in accounting.

While the theme of the 3-day meeting was How to Build a World Class Organization, Mr. Turnquest said The Bahamas was bent on creating a world class country. He called the modernization of government, upgrading or replacing legacy systems, improvements in the ease of doing business, conversion to digital processes and retraining or upgrading skills at every level of civil service all part of a transformation agenda.

That agenda, he revealed, had already tilted the economic scale, from a negative growth five years ago of -3% to modest, but positive growth of 1.6 percent in 2018. Household consumption increased by $140 million during the same period and exports of goods and services increased by $244 million. Tourism numbers were up by 16.9 %, yet the single largest category was real estate development.

“Investors can have confidence in the stability of our economy and in the future outlook for business growth and development knowing that the stewards of the economy are adhering to an ethical framework and making competent decisions in line with best practices,” Mr. Turnquest said.

According to host John Bain, delegates from South and Central America, the Caribbean, Canada, Geneva and the UK were impressed.

“The comments about the Deputy Prime Minister’s remarks were so positive and everyone was so impressed by the whole conference they have requested that The Bahamas submit a proposal for the annual conference in 2020.” This year’s UHY annual international conference is in Beijing.

Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a leading network of independent accounting and consulting firms with offices in over 300 major business centres across 100 countries. The group’s services and teams are personalized to suit the culture of each client, including publicly listed corporations, large and medium-sized companies, privately owned businesses, not-for-profit entities and public organizations.