Categorized | National News

Opposition Calls Budget ‘Political Bashing’

Opposition Leader Philip Davis yesterday charged that the government’s budget communication was used as a forum for “political bashing and biased posturing” against the former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government.

Mr. Davis insisted that the communication appeared to offer no hope for the poor and by extension, the future.

The Opposition leader’s sentiments came during a press conference held in the Minority Room immediately after the presentation of the 2017/2018 Budget Communication in the House of Assembly.

Mr. Davis lamented that despite the accusations of the previous government mismanaging the country’s affairs, the budget statement as communicated by Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, is in fact an admission that the former Christie administration “prudently managed the economy laying a solid foundation.”

“This is evidenced amongst other things by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that predicts that this year the economy will grow by 1.4 per cent and will be followed by a 2.2 per cent growth in 2018. Indeed the government itself is predicting 3.3 per cent growth for next year, which must be a testament to the prudent management of the PLP government,” Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Davis meantime said it is shocking that the government is within its first weeks in office and already borrowing what he called an unprecedented $722 million to manage the country.

Meantime, Mr. Davis sent a stern warning to the government, advising its members not to pronounce doom and gloom on the economy.

“In the government’s efforts to make political points, the Free National Movement (FNM) has to be very careful not to talk down this economy to the harm of the national interest.  The budget statement appears to do just that,” he said.

“A responsible government must outline the facts as they are, but must always give a people hope that there are better days are ahead. This statement today is disappointing in that it appears to offer no hope for the future, just bashing the PLP about its past stewardship and indicating that it will be cutting back further into the growth prospects of the economy.”

The opposition also took exception to the government’s claims of deals the former administration funded in the run up to the general election.

“The bottom line seems to be here that the FNM made wild promises based on a lack of understanding of the economy in which they operate.  Now that they are in the government they have to face the reality,” Mr. Davis said.

“The FNM is seeking to provide a false narrative to provide a cover for the fact that they cannot live up to what they promised in the general election.

“We again urge them to be extremely careful how they talk down this economy so that they do not make the last state worse than the first.  The fact is the government is the largest spender in this economy.  If the government contracts its spending, then the economy of this country gets into deep trouble. We again say to the government be very careful.”

Additionally, Mr. Davis said he is concerned that there was not much mention of addressing economic needs in Grand Bahama; rather it only touched on a repeal of the present Act which provides incentives to the businesses on that island.

Meantime, the Opposition said it looks forward to a vigorous debate on the budget.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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