Categorized | National News

Shared Sacrifice

Debate on the 2018/2019 budget off to a fiery start yesterday, as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, K. Peter Turnquest, sought to give what he called the unfiltered truth; the “unsugared” reality of the country’s finances that led to the painful decision to increase value added tax (VAT) to 12 per cent.

He said the government’s immediate actions are designed to provide this period of shared sacrifice. 

Reiterating a case made during his communication last Wednesday, the DPM went to great lengths to separate the Minnis administration from the previous Christie government, who he has repeatedly chastised  for being clueless on planning and reckless in spending, having racked up a staggering debt of $2.6 billion, stagnating the economy for its full five years in office. 

“They talk a good game indeed, but miserably fail to score when it counts,” he said.

“They’re still trying to talk a good game while in opposition, but they’re reputation for failure weighs them down, and their pronouncements are simply the void of meaning,” he added.

“And then without any shame, after taking in the people’s value added tax revenue, and making the debt and the deficit exponentially larger and leaving a mountain of bills behind, they have the temerity, the gall, to be outraged that this administration is actually cleaning up the mess that they made of our fiscal situation.”

Despite what’s being said, Mr. Turnquest, insists the decisions made in the 2018/2019 budget were not made lightly or without painstaking analysis and deliberations. 

“The government believe it or not,  did not take the easy way out, increasing taxes is not the easy way out,” Turnquest said.

“We were faced with a set of extraordinary circumstances, and we chose to act responsibly to pursue every available option we had, even the unpopular ones. 

“I just want to put that out there, Mr. Speaker, ours is a government of action done in a transparent, accountable and responsible way.”

The government has given itself three years to get its fiscal house in order, namely eliminating the deficit and reducing its debt.

Failure to do so, said the DPM, would lead to a quickening crawl towards a fiscal point of no return.

The government’s confident that at the end of its measures, it would be in a position to give back to Bahamians in 2019 and even more so in 2020/2021. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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