Categorized | National News

DPM Suggests Possible Service Fees for Bahamians

“It’s not the government’s intention to inflict pain,” rather the goal is to take proactive measures to address the country’s fiscal challenges and according to Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, one way may be a government review that may result in added service fees for Bahamians.

Mr. Turnquest said yesterday following a Rotary Club meeting that the government will review how state owned agencies are funded and charged that what is done now is not sustainable.

He used garbage collection and the Water and Sewerage Corporation as an example, noting that the water company’s rates have not increased in over 40 years.

“These are services that are provided to the public and they have to be paid for. The question is do you pay for those services provided to individuals through taxation or through user fees. I submit that a more efficient way is through appropriate service fees, so that we balance the cost of providing the service specifically through the revenue from that activity,” he said.

His sentiments came a day after the prime minister in his first national address announced that there would be a 10 percent cut of government ministries expenditures, while he also confirmed that there is a freeze on public sector hiring.

These revelations sparked concern among some members of the public who feel that this creates a sense of hopelessness for those in need of jobs.

Mr. Turnquest refuting this notion, reiterating Prime Minister Minnis’ sentiments in which he said the government has to take difficult measures to address this issue.

“The era of waste and mismanagement is over,” the deputy prime minister said.

“Our primary focus is to be as proactive as possible to right this ship before it glides into a proverbial iceberg.

“So we must take the measures now. As difficult as they may be, if you wish to avoid further damage.”

The deputy prime minister sought to justify the freeze on public sector hiring and the 10 percent reduction in government expenditures.

“We recognize that there are people out there not employed, and some for years, and they are being disadvantaged because the system is clogged by these high wages. We believe that we have to clear the system so we have opportunity at the bottom for new entrants,” Mr. Turnquest said.

“So it’s not a matter of trying to inflict any kind of pain on government workers. What we want to do is rationalize their service to ensure that we need their service to the extent that we have to disengage, that we do so with clear intent and full analysis of what the consequences are both for us and for them and to the extent that we can help them to transition into the public sector.”

Mr. Turnquest also pointed out that in the case of reducing 10 percent of government agencies funding, cuts will only be made in instances of wastage.

Mr. Turnquest also expressed concern that there should be some “dramatic changes” to how the country delivers its business services, noting that The Bahamas is lagging behind especially in technology.

“I do not accept that we are falling behind countries like Jamaica and Trinidad in the ease of doing business because we failed to modernize and we will and be willing to accept change,” he said.

“We have to do better. This is competitive work. If we don’t move forward just as we are today it will slip further and further and we will lose our competitive edge.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook