Premier and Minister of Finance Dr Natalio Wheatley has indicated that the BVI’s over-reliance on its financial services industry, one of its two main economic pillars, should not be allowed to continue.
The Premier was at the time addressing some of the challenges faced by the BVI as it navigates the implementation of the Commission of Inquiry
) recommendations through its proposal to the United Kingdom (UK).
In terms of government revenue, the Finance Minister said he does not expect that, moving forward, financial services will be able to play the role it has in the past.
“We face challenges to our financial services industry which is of course something that [has] been very well regulated and we’ve had some very strong leadership in financial services for many years,” Premier Wheatley said on the Umoja radio show recently.
He noted that the territory’s tourism industry – the second of its two economic pillars — is something that would have to be strengthened, along with other efforts aimed at diversifying the BVI’s economy.
“Our financial services sector will continue to be well regulated and we will continue to do what we have to do to meet our obligations, but of course the over-reliance on financial services from a government revenue side is something that we can no longer afford to do. It presents too much risk,“ Dr Wheatley stated.
Premier Wheatley pointed to the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the COI
itself as major challenges encountered by the territory in recent years and explained that the government still has a number of areas to complete as it seeks to address the territory’s hurricane recovery efforts.
He expressed that the government‘s plan is centred on reprioritising.
The territory’s leader said this has been one of the most challenging five-year periods in the history of the Virgin Islands
and expressed that it will take a balancing act as the BVI moves forward.