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Executives stress pivotal role private sector must play in decisions on economy

While the government has included a seat at the table for the business community through the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), the private sector remains slightly jaded, with Chief Executive Officer of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Jeffrey Beckles explaining yesterday that the government is not the only entity with solutions for growing the economy.

President of CFAL Anthony Ferguson also said yesterday that the exercise of having this country’s Cabinet and central bank make decisions on the future of The Bahamas’ economy in a vacuum might not be the best option for growth.

Both men made their comments while guests on the Guardian Radio talk show “Morning Blend”. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday while delivering the keynote address at CFAL’s first-ever Budget Pass event at Baha Mar’s convention center, that the business community will play an important role in keeping the “government on track’ through the Fiscal Responsibility Council (FRC).

“This independent civil society body is established by the Fiscal Responsibility Act to foster budgetary discipline and to promote the government’s adherence to sound fiscal decisions,” Turnquest said.

“We expect the council to be vibrant and active in playing its role. I don’t think the full weight of this law (FRA) has fully registered with the Bahamian people, but it should be known, it has the power to ensure the government strikes the right balance with its priorities and policies, while handling taxpayers’ hard-earned money in a responsible and transparent way.”

The Bahamas will not be legally bound to follow the suggestions and forecasts of the FRC, which will be comprised of individuals from civil society with specific areas of expertise in law, business, economics, accounting and finance. The FRC has already been formed, but not yet formally announced.

Beckles said it has to be remembered that business runs the economy, “period”.

Ferguson added: “I think given the severity of our problems, 20 people sitting in Cabinet and several people sitting around the central bank making the decisions that will impact the future of our economy… that doesn’t sound like the best option for me.”

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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