Categorized | National News

MP Defends FNM’s Borrowing

Staunchly defending the Ingraham administration’s borrowing in the face of a global economic crisis, East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest yesterday called the Christie administration’s claim that it was forced into an excessive deficit “hogwash.”

Mr. Turnquest said the Christie administration is presenting a budget for 2012/13 with a deficit nearly 10 per cent greater than what the previous administration had.

“Of this huge deficit, the government says ‘the previous administration made us do it’ notwithstanding that they added four new ministries with the associated costs, significant new recurrent expenditure and increased the salaries for ministers of state by $6,000,” Mr. Turnquest said.

Mr. Turnquest led off the Opposition’s contribution to the 2012 budget debate in the House of Assembly yesterday morning.

“No matter how the government tries to rationalise it, if a deficit of $500 million is bad, $550 million is not the beginning of getting the fiscal house in order as they claimed. Now that the economic recovery is well in progress, the fiscal trajectory this deficit represents is clearly out of order and will surely lead to disaster. If they cannot get it right now, they never will be able to do so,” he said.

Mr. Turnquest further slammed the Christie administration’s criticisms about the FNM’s irresponsibility in permitting the recurrent balance to become a challenge for fiscal policy. He said it’s a “blatant act of hypocrisy.”

He is adamant that the deterioration began under the first Christie administration.

While the former administration was criticised for its excessive borrowing in the face of a global economic crisis, Mr. Turnquest said it was all for the benefit of Bahamians during difficult times.

“We prefer to spend the money helping individuals to create opportunities for themselves so that they maintain their dignity and appreciate the correlation between hard work and reward. There is no such thing as a free lunch and no matter what programme choice you make someone pays and there is always someone that you will not be able to reach due to limited resources,” he said.

And with so many promises laid out in the PLP’s Charter for Governance, the former Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce president questioned just how the Christie administration intends to fulfil them.
“How this administration seriously expects to reduce the recurrent deficit while it increases the number of ministries by four and makes no provision for revenue increases after providing for some reductions in revenue is a mystery,” he said.

“It does project growth of GDP in current prices of 5.4 per cent and projects revenue at 18.3 per cent of this expanded GDP, but there is no explanation of an increase in revenue of $100 million over the previous year’s performance. Clearly this is playing with numbers to fake a certain outcome. It is also a clear indication that this administration has no commitment to fiscal responsibility.”

The FNM MP insists that the government’s budget does not meet its objectives as set out in the Speech from the Throne nor does it meet expectations for creating jobs, empowering Bahamians and providing mortgage relief.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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