Chamber CEO: Bahamians paying more for less
The increase in household expenditure last year has less to do with the improved buying power of Bahamian consumers and instead reflects that Bahamians are spending more for the same purchases as compared to the year before.
That assertion came from Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Beckles, who said based on information in a recent Department of Statistics report, the 1.9 percent or $140 million increase in household expenditure year over year is not based on increased consumption.
“I don’t believe households are buying more, obviously the cost of goods has gone up significantly in the past year, so we’re actually paying a lot more for in fact a lot less. I’ll give you an example, has anyone paid attention that despite all these other discussions going on, gasoline is going right back up to five dollars a gallon? To my point, we’re paying much more for either the same or we’re getting less for our dollar,” Beckles said in an interview with Guardian Business yesterday.
“But if you look at that report, imports also dropped significantly, so it’s certainly not in consumption. So, we certainly are paying a lot more for the same goods.”
In 2018, imports of goods and services decreased by $23 million or 0.4 percent compared to 2017.
The Bahamas’ real GDP grew 1.6 percent in 2018, 0.6 percentage points shy of government’s projection that there would be a 2.2 percent increase in GDP for the year.
“No one is ever going to be satisfied with the economic growth factor of 1.6 percent. I understand that it’s going to take some time to get us on the right foot, but we have to start doing those things. I don’t think that we can continue on this growth rate for a sustained period of time and remain a healthy country, it’s just not going to happen,” Beckles said.
“The growth rates are much too low over the longer period of time, so we have to do more to stimulate our economy, we have to do more to diversify it, we can’t just talk that we have to look at ways to do that, and then we also have the issue of having to deal with some major reforms within the country.”
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News