Categorized | National News

Economy Recovers, Says DPM

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest is optimistic that the local economy is showing clear signs of recovery following its  protracted underperformance. He says that the finances of The Bahamas is in a better place than they were at the middle of the last financial year.

Mr. Turnquest said, “there are clear indications that the Bahamian economy has finally begun to recover from its lengthy period of under-performance. Over the four year period from 2012 and  2016, the economy actually shrank in real terms from $10.7 billion to $10.2 billion.”

The Finance Minister  said the economy recorded real growth on the order of 1.8 percent in 2017. “This renewed buoyancy stemmed primarily from construction activity associated with  ongoing foreign investment projects, as well as  rebuilding work in the wake of the hurricanes,” he said.

Six months into the current budget year and leaning on numbers, the DPM revealed that as of December 31st, 2017, the GFS deficit totaled $198 million, a decline from the $290.3 at the mid-point 2016, the latter figure was nearly three times the total deficit projected for the entire year.

“The aggregate GFS Deficit for the first six months of the current fiscal year totaled some $198.0 million, down sharply from the deficit of $290.3 million recorded by the previous administration at the mid-point of the 2016/17 fiscal year.

“It also presaged the eventual GFS Deficit outturn for the entire 2016/17 fiscal year which, at $676 million, dwarfed the previous Government’s Budget estimate of $100 million.

“The $92.3 million improvement in the GFS Deficit in the first half of this fiscal year, as compared to the previous year, largely reflected a deliberate $76.4 million reduction in Capital Expenditure, from $152.2 million last year to $75.8 million this year.

“This fiscal year, the government has exercised extreme prudence in the commitments for capital expenditure, ensuring that only meaningful and critical public investments are approved.

“That said, we acknowledge that our public infrastructure plant, in too many cases, remains well below the standards for a 21st Century Bahamas,” Mr. Turnquest said.

Mr. Turnquest told  members of the House of Assembly that the government has committed to finding creative ways to increase productive investments.

“The Government commits, over this term in office, to find creative and efficient ways to substantially increase productive investments in our hospitals, schools, clinics, airports and digital infrastructure, to allow for the sustained social and economic development of Bahamians throughout the full archipelago.

“These investments will be critical to underpin the much-needed improvements in productivity, boost the growth potential of the Bahamian economy and thereby contribute to enhanced job opportunities for our citizens,” Mr. Turnquest said.

Mr. Turnquest also revealed that despite having to pay out millions of dollars on expenditures by the previous administration, the total expenditure percent is five percent less than the first half of 2016.

“Recurrent Expenditure, adjusted for debt repayment, during the first six months of the current fiscal year totalled some $1,003 million, up slightly from $994 million in the corresponding period of 2016/17.

“As mentioned, the outturn this year was negatively impacted by the overhang commitments of the previous administration referenced above.

“Despite this, the expenditure total, this year, represents only 44.7 percent of the amount budgeted for the entire fiscal year, as compared to 50 percent in the first half of 2016/17,” Mr. Turnquest revealed.

He further stated that “despite the 10 percent cut, being implemented across the board, the amount spent on personal emoluments, salaries and allowances for the first half of this year totaled $373 million compared to $358 million in the corresponding period of 2016-17”.

All in all, the Mr. Turnquest assured that the government is on track to meet its targets; however ongoing dedication and vigilance is warranted.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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