Categorized | National News

FNM To Blame For Bad Economy

The former Ingraham administration’s “poor” estimates and “reckless” financial management are to blame for the current state of the economy, according to Minister for Financial Services Ryan Pinder.

On Wednesday, during his contribution to the Excise Stamp (Tobacco Products) Control Bill, Mr. Pinder said it is unbelievable to see what has transpired financially over the last fiscal year.

He said the former Free National Movement (FNM) Government, through its mismanagement of the country’s financial affairs, as well as its “selfish motivation to do whatever possible to win an election,” in one year contributed more than half a billion dollars to this nation’s debt – more than a quarter of a billion dollars more than projected.

“This is astonishing and certainly no way to run a country,” he said.

Mr. Pinder noted that expenditures for the 2011/2012 fiscal year were $27 million more than estimated and revenues were $64 million less than estimated.

“What is shocking, however, is that the GFS deficit was $256 million more than estimated, an astonishing 103 per cent higher than estimated,” the minister said.

“Year after year, in every fiscal year that the former administration was the government, there was not an accurate budget projection and this was a major contributing factor to the financial woes that were inherited.”

He continued, “So when the former member for Marco City [Zhivargo Laing] finds himself compelled to speak about the current budget forecasts, I might remind him of his legacy as the minister of state for finance and I might remind him that based on his legacy of inaccurate projections, he followed suit in a major way with the current budget in which the government operates, inaccurate projections that have exasperated the financial challenges that they created in the first place.”

Mr. Pinder also took the former Ingraham administration to task over its budgeting.
He said the former FNM Government presented inaccurate budget projections –underestimating expenditures and overestimating revenue.

“This is why I am shocked when the former member for Marco City, and the current member for Killarney can fix their mouths to even address fiscal mismanagement, they are the poster children for it,” he said.

Mr. Pinder pointed out that the Ingraham administration inherited a strong economy from the former Christie administration. He said things were good in 2007 as the economy had grown by 4 per cent the year before.

“By 2008, this new administration’s first real budget, despite the onset of global economic warnings, the government was still ‘cautiously optimistic’ about fiscal matters and our immediate to mid-term economic future,” he said.

“In fact, the member for Marco City, in a presentation to The Bahamas Outlook Forum in early 2008, stated: ‘I reiterate this administration’s belief that the Bahamian economy will perform admirably in 2008 and that its prospects for the medium and long-term are promising.’ Even after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the Bahamian economy late in 2008, [the Ingraham] administration still would not face the reality of where the country was headed under their leadership.”

Mr. Pinder said intermingled with poorly thought out and executed stimulus spending, and a wasteful abuse of the public purse, the FNM Government embarked on a borrowing initiative that future generations might not be able to repay.

“Capital works projects proved to be a thorn in the sides of ordinary Bahamians, the profits of which have not trickled down to those in real need in our country nor have they put a dent in our unemployment figures. The former government laid the predicate for the financial challenges we experience today,” he said.

Rogan Smith

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