NASSAU, The Bahamas — Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert A Ingraham said in his New Year’s address to the nation on Thursday, February 4, that the Bahamian economy will experience a turnaround in 2010.

“Indications are that the worst of the recession is over. Some improvement in the job market is underway. Tourism numbers are improving and Government revenue is showing signs of some firming up,” the Prime Minister said.

“We fully expect that with improving economic conditions we will be able to refocus on our traditional fiscal targets – lower government deficits, less borrowing and more favourable debt—GDP radio.

“An economic turnaround will permit us to reinvest in our fiscal health and re-establish the necessary fiscal space to weather the next economic storm when it comes,” the Prime Minister added.

But the Prime Minister reminded Bahamians that 2009 was a difficult year, and that the economy faced significant headwinds and is estimated to have declined by about four per cent as the global downturn bore heavily upon the country.

He said tourism contracted sharply, construction activity weakened as foreign direct investments fell. Unemployment rose and government revenue decreased.

“It was indeed a difficult year. But we now expect that 2010 will be better,” the Prime Minister said.

He said the global economic picture is beginning to improve though recovery from the economic and financial crisis will take time.

“US and international recovery will positively impact our economy. The economy of The Bahamas is inextricably linked to the world economy and predominantly the economy of the United States.

“We will use these gains as they occur to begin reclaiming ground lost due to the recession. We will also move aggressively on initiatives we are taking to transform our nation and achieve greater peace, productivity and prosperity in the years ahead,” the Prime Minister said.