Commentary — ‘steady hand’ sought to guide vi – the bvi beacon gas city indiana newspaper


Within two weeks in September 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into the Virgin Islands, causing approximately $3.6 billion in facility damages. These damages were felt in many sectors: medical, education, fire, police, government, infrastructure (including roads, water, sewerage, telecommunications, electricity and ports), tourism, attractions, recreation, housing, business and so on. electricity billy elliot In addition to facility damages, the economy, gross domestic product, and employment were also adversely impacted.

The ravaging storms also radically and severely changed lives and circumstances. About 70 percent of homes were damaged, and they are now in various stages of repair. Many residents are still yearning for a return to some normalcy. Though some recovery progress has been made, many residents, businesses and so on are still struggling to regain their footing.

The territory will also have to address affordable housing; quality-of-life services; economic growth, development and sustainability; financial services and tourism (the twin pillars of the economy); economic and political independence; governing transparency, accountability and responsibility; environmental resources protection and preservation; foreign direct investment; economic diversification; national capital improvement programme projects recovery, and so on.

There is an ongoing debate among residents about the opportunity to pursue political independence. electricity 2015 Independence indeed must be an issue on government’s bucket list, and at some point it needs to be addressed through a referendum. Nonetheless, economic independence is the driver for political independence. gas x reviews ratings Without it, political independence is only a hollow shell and a pipe dream.

What is economic independence? It is control of the majority of a nation’s resources by its residents. This equates to local ownership of resources. However, the VI is resource poor, it depends heavily on external investment, and it is highly susceptible to external shocks. Consequently, this economic independence weakness must be addressed if the political independence dream will become a sustainable reality.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria demonstrated the fragility of the current economic sectors. The current economic course is not sustainable, and the economy must be diversified. electricity song 2015 Economic diversification is insurance for preventing and minimising the stumbling of one economic sector from causing the catastrophic tumbling of the whole economy. electricity distribution companies Diversifying the economy will be a heavy lift for the government and the rest of the territory, but urgent action is needed. There are various areas for potential economic diversification, though each is unlikely to form a strong third economic pillar on its own: agriculture, light manufacturing, fishing, back office activities, medical tourism and knowledge-based economy, for example.

Though economic independence is a function of locals controlling the majority of a nation’s wealth and factors of production, the reality is that the VI is a small locale and may require more than local investment capacity and capability to boost economic growth, development and sustainability, as well as improve quality of life and standard of living, after the devastating damages inflicted by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Consequently, FDI is an option that will be needed to invest on road infrastructure, water utilities, energy, electricity, telecommunications, tourism facilities, ports and so on to rebuild the territory.

However, attracting substantial FDI requires various criteria: ease in setting up businesses; a skilled workforce; first-world infrastructure; opportunity to turn a profit with minimum risk; rule of law and so on. Further, FDI must be structured to create a win-win for both the companies and the territory. Local participation must be aggressively employed to the maximum extent practical.

As such, the VI will definitely have to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the recovery effort. gas vs electric oven review Nonetheless, the territory does not have the financial resources to adequately and effectively fund the recovery effort and must borrow to rebuild. Borrowing will definitely increase the national debt and may temporarily increase the debt-to-GDP ratio beyond the 40 percent suggested by the International Monetary Fund for developing countries. Nevertheless, borrowing is needed. Therefore, the use of these borrowed dollars must be optimised to achieve the desired long-term positive outcomes.

Further, the devastation caused by Irma and Maria presents an opportunity to re-plan the territory’s real property facilities footprint, improving facilities design and construction, along with maximising limited land use. Thus, the planning, programming and budgeting process must look beyond designing and constructing damaged real property facilities in like kind.