Minister of Transport and Housing the Hon. JoBeth Coleby-Davis said the Post Office Department is expected to generate over $1.9 million dollars in revenue during the 2023/24 budget period.
“A major plan for the department in this budget year is the development and creation of an automated counter and parcel delivery operation to facilitate electronic payment transactions, and online purchasing, along with track and tracing capabilities. I am advised that revenue intake from this operation in the first three years can exceed $3 million dollars,” Housing and Transport Minister said during her Contribution to the 2023/24 Budget Debate in the House of Assembly, June 21, 2023.
“Plans are in motion for the redesign of the Post Office building in Grand Bahama to accommodate other government offices. This redesign will result in a multi-purpose facility and will alleviate paying rent for several government buildings.”
She said the new General Post Office building will include additional services, for example courier services which will allow international packages to be delivered to mailboxes.
The Minister added that efforts to improve the operations of the Post Office Savings Bank will also be given significant attention in this budget period. Given the complaints we have heard from several Family Islands about the lack of banking services, the Post Office Savings Bank is being reviewed as a viable option to fill the gap created by the absence of commercial banks.
Addressing the Port Department, she said the port is expected to generate over $18 million dollars in revenue, and is allocated over $9 million dollars for recurrent expenditure.
The Transport and Housing Minister explained that plans of the department in 2023 include, the cleaning of Nassau Harbour and surrounding areas, issuance of RFP for Cooper’s Town and Marsh Harbour Ports to continue to stimulate and grow the economy of Abaco, construction of office spaces at the Dockmaster’s Office on Potter’s Cay, the relocation of the Nassau Harbor Control to Nassau Cruise Port terminal building, and the urgent review of the Port Department’s offices in Exuma and Eleuthera.
She said for decades, there have been numerous complaints from Bahamians operating in watersports and sport fishing industries surrounding the unfair competition from foreign vessels which were allowed to temporarily operate in The Bahamas without the payment of import taxes.
“Given the significant capital costs associated with the purchase of vessels, government concessions were required to enable Bahamians to have a fair chance in participating in this industry.
“In keeping with the commitment in our Blueprint for Change, this budget, for the first time, will provide for water sports and sports fishing industries similar concessions and support as those given to taxi and livery tour businesses,” she said.
“Vessels imported into The Bahamas will pay a First-Time registration fee in lieu of Import Duties and Value Added Taxes. This Fee represents a significant saving for new and existing watersports and fishing operators.”
The Minister said the Port Department is presently engaged in discussions relative to the introduction of a licensing regime for persons to operate private vessels. “Further updates will be provided to the public as discussions progress. The safety of our citizens and guests is the highest priority for this PLP administration.”