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Opposition Deputy Chester Cooper said the reality on theground for most Bahamians is harshly different than the rosy picture thegovernment wishes to paint of the economy.

While the government he said is basking in the glow of praise from the IMF, indicators in the country are dismal.

 In a statement released  yesterday, Mr. Cooper said the Minister is not addressing the fact that the IMF has pointed to a looming contraction in GDP growth after the next fiscal cycle.

That the government seeks to pat itself on the back for something it had little to do with is amazing, though not surprising, given the Minnis Administration’s lack ofaccomplishments thus far.

“The fact is that unemployment is up, the healthcare plant is in shambles; we don’thave enough ambulances to service our population; we don’t appear to have the wherewithal to fix a traffic light; the roads are sparingly paved as potholes abound; Ragged Island is still in disrepair, her people desperate for relief; people cannot keep the lights on; people are living in cars and the government cannot keep a constant supply of electricity. 

“All the while the government is starving capital expenditure in a vain attempt to meet a deficit target.

“The narrow focus on achieving its deficit target at any cost is concerning.Instead of additional expenditure cuts in light of continued human suffering and crumbling infrastructure, the government must focus on collection of existing taxes to increase revenue.”

He added that while there will be economic growth in this fiscal year, what has been achievedhas been through growth in tourism driven in large measure by Baha Mar, a keyplank in the former government’s policy achievements, and a roaring U.S economy that may be poised for a slowdown.

Cooper noted that the way in which scarce resources are allocated to improve the quality of life ofthe citizenry, grow the economy, reduce unemployment, provide affordable health care, ensure price stability, and achieve a more rational distribution of national income is the true measure of economic performance.

The opposition hopes thegovernment will not seek to stifle debate on this matter as they did in themid-year budget.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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