It is critical that the government clearly articulates how it intends to manage the negative impact Hurricane Dorian will have on the country’s fiscal affairs over the next several years, according to Gowon Bowe, chief financial officer of Fidelity Bank and Trust.
Bowe added that the global community will be scrutinizing closely how the government manages the country’s finances post-Dorian.
“That’s why it’s important that we set out the financial numbers very clearly. I want to remove the word transparent, because I think this isn’t about transparency. This is about having very fiscally responsible plans and actions,” the economic commentator said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“Meaning that the global community knows that there is going to be a significant cost to restoring activity in The Bahamas. They know that the government is going to have to play a role in that. They know that we will have to borrow in order to do that.”
What’s most important, Bowe said, is for the government to set out the numbers.
“We know what we’re trying to replace, we know that it’s going to be covered by private insurance or private investment, we know what is going to be required by the government, but we have a plan on how we will do so over numerous years. Our investment is not going to be how do we pay for this entire recovery in the next six months or twelve months, but how do we make sure that the recovery is continuous over the next several years, so that we can spread out the payments, the borrowing,” he said.
He continued, “What causes my antennae to perk is when we start throwing around numbers without any context. What really has to be driven from the deputy prime minister and the rest of the Cabinet and government officials when they speak is that this isn’t about a helter-skelter approach.
“It’s saying we are currently an information cabinet, we are mapping out what has been allocated and the responsibility of private sources whether it be donations, insurance or investments; we are mapping out what it is as it relates to government and what we are losing as a government; and we are saying there is no crystal ball but over the next two to three years, this is how we see our expenditure and our revenues and this is how we’re going to compensate from other areas that were not impacted to try and divert resources.”