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DPM: No data yet suggesting need for budget adjustments

At this time the government does not have the data suggesting budgets need to be adjusted, even as it encounters problems collecting tax revenues from the gaming sector.

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest told Guardian Business yesterday that the government continues to monitor the key performance indicators (KPI), and at the end of September its first quarter preliminary results will be in and any necessary adjustments will be made.

“We do not have data that tells us we have to adjust budgets at this point as we continue to monitor our KPI throughout all revenue-generating sectors,” said Turnquest.

“Whatever reassessments [are] necessary will be made based upon those [first quarter] results, with any significant budget adjustments to be made at the mid-year performance review, if necessary.

“At the moment we are encouraged by reports from various sectors of the economy, notwithstanding the challenge from the gaming industry.”

Turnquest said the government will continue to exercise vigilance in its fiscal responsibility and accountability.

Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) CEO Edison Sumner contended last week that the government should have never based its revenue plan for this fiscal year so heavily on taxes collected from gaming houses, and asserted that if the budget is revisited as Turnquest suggested could happen, the government must consult the private sector going forward.

“These are things we talked about before and we brought this to the attention of the government before, that they cannot be putting all of their eggs in one basket and there has to be some diversification of how you raise your taxes and it cannot be contingent on just trying to raise money from the gaming industry,” Sumner said.

Turnquest said with regard to consultation, he is accessible to Sumner and others and only a phone call away.

“It is fair to say I am disappointed by the comments from the Chamber CEO and the president of BICA (Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants), who are both personal friends and have easy access to me and to any information they need to make sound business decisions and advise their constituents,” Turnquest said.

“There is absolutely no need for the public speculations via the media when we are a phone call away. I expect that we will meet with both in the coming weeks as we continue to be as inclusive as possible.”

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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