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Central Bank: Fiscal deficit at $669.4 million

The Central Bank of The Bahamas.

The Central Bank of The Bahamas confirmed that the fiscal deficit for the previous fiscal year landed at almost $700 million.

In its monthly economic development report for October, the regulator’s figures were in sync with the government’s revised deficit estimates for the 2016/2017 fiscal year.

“Preliminary data for the government’s operations over the entire fiscal year 2016/17 showed a more than two-fold expansion in the deficit to an estimated $669.4 million,” notes the Central Bank.

The bank indicated that the whopping increase in the deficit was a reflection of a $490 million increase in expenditure.

“The expansion in expenditure was driven by a $334.7 million (16.7 percent) gain in current outlays… as consumption spending firmed by $248.0 million (24.9 percent), owing mainly to the $208.2 million (63 percent) increase in purchases of goods and services,” the bank states.

The report points out that approximately 90 percent of total revenue was comprised of tax receipts.

The bank also provided a first-quarter comparison of this fiscal year versus the same period in 2016/2017.

The report states that during the first quarter of this year, the deficit narrowed by $18.9 million to an estimated $65.6 million, when compared to the same period last year.

“Underlying this development was a $17.1 million decrease in total expenditure to $517.7 million, together with a $1.7 million increase in revenue to $452.2 million,” the bank reveals.

The report also states that capital expenditures were almost halved by $34.4 million.
“In particular, infrastructure-related expenditure contracted by $22.6 million (45.4 percent), as a number of roadwork and coastal protection projects were concluded,” the bank explains.

Revenue also experienced an increase attributed to a $15.5 million expansion in tax receipts, to $414.1 million, mainly sourced from improvements for motor vehicle licensing business and professional fees and selective taxes on certain services, according to the report.

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