Categorized | National News

“ IMF Report Does Not Reflect Pains”, Says Davis

Opposition Leader Philip Davis said the International Monetary Fund report does not accurately reflect what’s happening in the country,  nor does it reflect the social pains faced by everyday Bahamians. 

Further, as far as he is concerned, the success of the economy has absolutely nothing to do with anything the FNM did. 

“It  boils down to two things: no hurricanes and the positive economic impact of the Baha Mar project.” 

“It  is highly ironic that while in opposition, the FNM vehemently opposed the Baha Mar project and the proposal by the PLP to impose a hurricane levy to avoid fiscal disruptions from unforeseen natural disaster.

“The FNM has now gone to parliament  about  funds from dormant bank accounts and an additional loan from IDB  to defray the cost of post hurricane repairs.  In short, a mechanism that will not derail budgetary objectives; this was the objective of the proposed hurricane levy,” he said.  

Mr. Davis further charged that the Minnis administration has done nothing but take credit for what the PLP has done. 

Citing a recent Ministry of Finance Report, the PLP Leader said the government had to revise its budgetary deficit by over $100 million dollars for the end of 2018, an indication of poor financial mismanagement.

“This is extraordinary in the face of $2 billion borrowed to date; a 60 per cent hike in Value Added Tax,  which by the way has resulted in only 19 per cent increase in tax receipts; the separation of thousands of government workers that the government claims will accrue $70 million in cost savings; drastic cutbacks on the capital expenditure account and no hurricanes or natural disasters to disrupt budgetary allocations,” he said. 

Mr. Davis went on to express fear that the government’s fiscal performance will only get worse.

Meantime, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said the report touted the economy’s continued recovery with real GDP growth projected to reach 2.3 percent this year and 2.1 percent in 2019.

The government was also commended for narrowing the fiscal deficit from 5.5. per cent of GDP in the 2017 fiscal year to an estimated 3.3. per cent in fiscal year 2018.

The DPM told reporters outside cabinet yesterday morning that the assessment confirms that the Minnis administration is on the right track with the policies initiated thus far.

He said, “we are particularly happy that they have endorsed our fiscal responsibility legislation and what that will allow us to do in terms of making the whole process of budgeting and the fiscal management of the country more inclusive through the fiscal council that will be established and more transparent so that all Bahamians who are interested can have access to data that can have a direct input into how we shape the future of our country from a fiscal point of view.” 

As noted in Monday’s release, the DPM accepts that there is still a lot of work to be done.

“There’s a lot of education that needs to be done because unfortunately sometimes we are not very good at communicating where we are and why we are doing and taking the steps we are taking, so that’s something that we have to work on so that we bring everybody along as we try to turn around our fiscal situation.

“However, as we look around the world and see what’s happening and see all the upheaval that’s happening.  It says to us that we have to get our fiscal house in order and take the opportunity while we have some buffers to do that so that when hard times come, if there is another recession which some people predict that we are prepared,” said  Mr. Turnquest. 

The IMF will issue a more in-depth study of the country’s economic environment early next year.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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