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DPM says govt will spend $23.1 mil. on debris cleanup

The government is spending an estimated $23.1 million on debris cleanup in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday.

Turnquest revealed the figure as he noted that government spending for the 2019/2020 fiscal year is projected to be over $300 million more than what was initially planned.

Of the additional spending, $182.7 million is directly related to Hurricane Dorian, Turnquest said.

He said $40 million will go towards the restoration of electricity on affected islands. Another $6 million was set aside for the rehabilitation of the water supply on the affected islands.

Temporary housing is projected to cost roughly $16.5 million, Turnquest said.

Approximately $13 million was allocated for food and accommodation assistance programs. Turnquest said $11.4 million will fund extended unemployment benefits to eligible people and another $11.1 million was dedicated to allowances for affected public staff.

According to Turnquest, $7 million was allocated for the support of small and medium-sized businesses.

He said $5.7 million was allocated for building repairs; $4.1 million for clinic repairs and $3 million for repairs to the Rand Memorial Hospital.

The new Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction was allocated $4 million and another $15.2 million of capital expenditure is set to cover “the acquisition of office equipment and miscellaneous machinery and equipment, vehicle replacement, research and surveys and other costs”.

Turnquest said $17.3 million of recurrent expenditure associated with Dorian was “allocated to primarily cover contingencies, consultancy services, security and other costs”.

The government also already spent $3 million on renovations at the Leonard Thompson International Airport on Abaco and $6.5 million on school repairs on affected islands, he said.

Turnquest said the increase in spending and decrease in revenue will result in a deficit increase of $677.5 million to 5.3 percent of gross domestic product. The government, given the terms of its Fiscal Responsibility Act, was aiming for a deficit target of one percent of GDP, or $137 million.

Turnquest said the increased expenditure has led to the decision of the government to borrow $587.9 million. He tabled resolutions yesterday to begin the process of borrowing those funds.

Dorian, a Category 5 storm, ripped through Abaco and Grand Bahamas last year, devastating both islands. There was loss of major infrastructure, homes and lives.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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