Categorized | National News

Laing Fires Back At Gov’t

Former State Minister for Finance Zhivargo Laing defended the former administration’s handling of the economy and dismissed charges from the Christie administration that the previous government left the country’s finances in a catastrophic state.

During the current debate on the 2012/2013 Budget, the former administration has been the
target of attacks from the government over the deficit it left behind and the record debt in which the country now finds itself.

Mr. Laing, who appeared as a guest on Love 97’s “Issues of the Day” yesterday, dismissed the government’s attacks and he argued that already the Christie government has had to adopt a number of the previous administration’s fiscal policies.

“What I find most incredible is not that we left a $500 million deficit but that we couldn’t afford the $500 million deficit – this was taking us to dangerous territories but you [the current administration] come and produce a budget that has a plan to a $550 million deficit,” he said.

The former minister and current senator called claims by the government that the Free National Movement (FNM) administration left the country’s finances in a catastrophic state “political rhetoric” and he maintained that there is evidence that the country’s economy is on the rebound.

“The economy of The Bahamas is in a recovery growing mode,” Mr. Laing said. “The prime minister acknowledges that in his own Budget Communication – he acknowledges that the economy, according to the Department of Statistics, grew by 1.6 per cent last year.

“Growth is expansion; it’s not contraction. The prime minister indicated that he has forecasted 2. 5 per cent growth or so this year – that’s what we also forecasted. The economy is in growth mode but modest growth mode and it continues to have high levels of unemployment.”

However, even with modest growth, Mr. Laing said that it is imperative that Bahamians familiarise themselves with changing global economic trends.

“We cannot continue to encourage a level of ignorance as it relates to the global economic realities that confront us because if we do not, no policy measure necessary to be taken will be able to be taken because we won’t face the facts. The global environment in which we are operating is a very challenge one.”

Mr. Laing promised to detail more thoroughly the country’s economic state during the FNM government’s five years in office when debate on the Budget gets underway in the Senate next week.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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