Categorized | Featured, National News

PM Discusses Economy with Union Leaders

Meeting with PM and Union (3)

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis met with union leaders on Saturday and expressed that it “paved the way for discussions to move forward with a factual understanding of the country’s economic outlook and the government’s fiscal constraints”.

This, Dr. Minnis said, includes the need to exercise spending restraint and reach sustainable economic growth targets. 

At the crux of the Bahamas Public Service Union’s (BPSU) grievances is a lump sum payment of $1,200 to assist union members with back-to-school expenses ahead of the upcoming school year. 

Members peacefully protested last week at the entrance of the Cabinet office intending to have a conversation with the prime minister, but were unsuccessful.  

The prime minister said the government takes the concerns of the unions seriously and this is why it convened this high level meeting – the first of its kind. 

Moving forward, the prime minister said these kinds of discussions will be integrated into the budget planning process. 

He added that the government wants to learn from the past and make this kind of citizen dialogue happen in a proactive way. 

While union members came in hopes of resolving individual issues, Saturday’s meeting, according to Dr. Minnis , was “to facilitate an open and frank discussion about the state of the economy and provide context for the government’s position”.

 The government stressed to the unions the importance of achieving fiscal sustainability to enhance the social and economic benefits that can be maintained over the medium and long term. 

It was also stressed that it’s imperative The Bahamas return to a more sustainable fiscal path. 

He added that expenditure restraint is crucial to this objective and if not achieved, it will have adverse implications for the entire economy.

The presentation, Dr. Minnis added, also highlighted the significant risks associated with the failure to reduce the country’s deficit, including risks to economic growth and downgrades by international ratings agencies.

 He also said while the economy is improving and job numbers are trending in the right direction, the country is still in the early stages of recovery. 

He cautioned, however, that the country must also be mindful that it is vulnerable to natural disasters and external economic shocks and at all times 

“We want to make decisions that are in the best interest of all Bahamians,” Dr. Minnis said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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