Johnson: Budget presentation today about ‘getting the fiscal house in order’
Following a fiscal strategy over the past year which focused heavily on implementing measures to shore up the government’s financial position through expenditure restraints and sweeping tax reforms, Bahamians will be eagerly tuned in as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest lays out the government’s agenda for the fiscal year 2019/2020 in parliament today.
Guardian Business asked Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson if this budget would be more people-centered and if Bahamians can expect any relief in this budget.
He maintained that “Underpinning any measure of social and economic stability as the government has indicated rests upon getting the fiscal house in order.
“The government has gone on record and given a clear indication as to what the strategy has been and, of course, the prime minister and the deputy prime minister would have said that the success of the economy is hinged upon having a strong, stable fiscal footing. And so we’re looking over the medium term and the long term in which the standards of living are secured,” Johnson said.
“If the fiscal situation does not stabilize you have a situation where you have increasing deficit and debt, which then means your tax dollars go towards paying of interest and cannot then be used to deal with social welfare issues and programs and infrastructure, and those things that are necessary for a healthy society.”
Earlier this month, Turnquest told Guardian Business that while he doesn’t foresee any radical interventions on expenditure or revenue in the upcoming budget, the government is preparing to introduce new revenue collecting streams.
Turnquest said the focus of this budget would be on compliance and would introduce adjustments to how taxes and fees are applied to certain services, like the home rental market.
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