The government has lost $232 million in revenue since the new coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis hit the country in March, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.
While speaking at a virtual town hall meeting for the Yamacraw constituency, Turnquest said, “So far, projected revenue initially for the year which would’ve been around $2.6 billion, we expect that we’re going to lose $900 million from that, reducing our revenue to roughly $1.7 billion.
“Already for the period of March to last week, we lost $232 million. So, that just gives you an idea of the trend and how we come to this question or this position that we’ll lose about $900 million.”
Turnquest said this fiscal year will be “very difficult,” noting that the Bahamian economy is expected to shrink by 12 percent as a result of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his budget communication on May 29, the finance minister said the Minnis administration intends to borrow $1.3 billion in the 2020/2021 fiscal year.
He painted a grim economic picture and highlighted a projected deficit of $1.3 billion.
Turnquest said the corresponding government debt level is expected to rise to nearly $9.5 billion in 2020/2021, equating to roughly 82.8 percent of GDP.
Government debt is projected at $8.9 billion at the end of the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30.
He also noted that the government slashed the budgets of 42 ministries and departments.