Categorized | National News

PM Defends Gov’t Spending

During the final day of the 2016/2017 budget debate in the House of Assembly yesterday, Prime Minister Perry Christie in his wrap up, refuted claims by Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis that the government has engaged in reckless spending leading the country into financial disaster.

The prime minister charged that the government is in no way fiscally irresponsible, and says that in fact, the government debt rose far less than it did under the previous Free National Movement administration.

“Unquestionably, our record as a fiscally responsible government I believe stands in stark contrast to that of our predecessors; whom every year at budget time spoke the ritualistic lines about the need to redress public finances, but in our view failed miserably year in and year out, even in the face of a resurgent domestic economy in 2010 and 2012. Former parliamentarians, people involved in finance, have commented on our claims on how we reduced the deficit,” the prime minister said.

East Grand Bahama Member of Parliament Peter Turnquest, got up on a point of order and suggested that the prime minister’s calculations are inaccurate.

“The prime minister said the level of increase in the debt, has decreased under the current administration. The facts reveal that the amount of government borrowing in the last four years has increased by $2 billion,” Mr. Turnquest said.

“It is also a fact Mr. Speaker, that the debt to GDP ratio is 76.3 percent, as reported by the Central Bank in its annual report,” he added.

Mr. Christie attemtped to squash what he called “erroneous statements” and “defective analysis” by FNM Deputy Leader and MP for East Grand Bahama Peter Turnquest.

The deputy leader suggested the government intentionally misled Bahamians by being dishonest in saying it decreased the GFS deficit.

Mr. Christie said the East Grand Bahama MP has either miscalculated the figures or is deliberately trying to create an issue.

“On the basis of the reliability of what we have achieved between 2012 and the present case, there is no reason Mr. Speaker, of every reason to have comfort in these figures. And so that people understand, these are figures that have gone over and over by rating agencies and the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” the prime minister said.

“We don’t just make idol projections. We have to make projections that are believable, even though from time to time we may not meet the target,” he lamented.

Earlier this week, Opposition Leader Dr. Minnis in his contribution to the debate stated that the national debt stood at $5 billion dollars in 2012, and now stands at over $6.5 billion adding that the projected borrowing was budgeted at $385 million but now stands at $7.3 billion.

Dr. Minnis posed the question as to where the money went, suggesting that the country is in a state of disrepair.

However, the prime minister maintains that not only is the government fiscally responsible, but its transparency and accountability remains intact.



Written by Jones Bahamas

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