Categorized | National News

Deficit Increased By $195 Mil



“They ran us into a proverbial ditch”, was the statement made by Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest just after he revealed that the previous administration’s projected deficit of $100 million was false, as the current deficit now stands at $695 million, $195 million more than was projected in May of this year.

During his contribution in the House of Assembly yesterday, Mr. Turnquest said that he wished to apologize for the fiscal incompetence of the PLP, as well as to the Bahamian people for what he had presented in Parliament in May as the projected deficit, which was incorrect.

“ I do want to apologize to them and to the Bahamian people for underestimating the depth of their fiscal incompetence, my words,” he said.

Mr. Turnquest’s comments came after questions were raised as to why the Central Bank’s report differed from what he presented in Parliament in May of this year, during the Budget debate.

“Considering the serious hemorrhage of red ink under their watch, obviously they just don’t understand it.

“But let me try to break it down to them. The Central Bank reports actual expenditure paid out on a cash basis up to the date that it gives the report, not for a full year.

“The projected deficit presented in Parliament in my Budget Contribution of $500 million was for a full year taking into account actual bills left behind by the previous administration and identified at the time that I made the contribution.

“Two uniquely different concepts, and you know again the member for Exuma and Ragged Island, he is a financial professional in a way, so he should know about looking at year to date numbers versus an annual projection , Mr. Turnquest said.

Admitting he was wrong in his projection, Mr. Turnquest said there were several reasons to his underestimating the extent of the deficit.

“I am willing to admit that I was in fact wrong with my projection of $500 million, I was wrong in the sense that I actually underestimated the extent of the deficit.

“The problem is not all the bills had been presented, not past me and my budget team, at the time that I did the budget.

“Bills are still coming and I am not just talking about $2 I wouldn’t mind $2, I’m talking big bills, we are still getting bills,” Mr. Turnquest said.

Mr. Turnquest said that only in being truthful with the Bahamian people that ‘problem’ could be fixed.

“The actual provisional deficit projected as of yesterday is not $ 500 million, as I projected and I am afraid to say this number, but I committed to the Bahamian people and all those who rely upon the numbers that I give, to be as truthful as I possibly can.

“It’s only in being truthful that you can fix the problem that you have, you can’t deny the problem exist, you have to deal with it.

“But as of yesterday, the projected deficit for 2016/17 is $695 million, that is the deficit. That’s $595 million more than the previous PLP government projected in their 2016/17; absolutely incredible,” Mr. Turnquest said.

Mr. Turnquest further revealed that the expenditure for the month of June was $381 million, which included some of the unpaid expenditures left by the Christie Administration.

However, Mr. Turnquest also stated that there was $9 million surplus in the month of July.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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