The government intends to bring its statutorily required Fiscal Strategy Report (FSR) to Parliament on December 3, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest revealed to reporters yesterday, explaining that the report will outline the difficulties facing the country’s economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report is due to Parliament no later than the third Wednesday of November annually, but Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in the House of Assembly on Wednesday last week, that the report would be delayed in order to present a more accurate picture of the government’s strategy, given that the pandemic has skewed the country’s economic outlook.
“While we expect the reopening of tourism on November 1 to have a growing positive impact on near-term macroeconomic conditions, the government is seeking to make use of the most current information to the extent possible to inform critical policy deliberations,” Minnis said last week.
Turnquest, who spoke to reporters outside of Cabinet yesterday, said it has been a “difficult year for The Bahamas”.
“We have given our interim report which indicates that we are significantly behind last year and where we had hoped to be,” said Turnquest.
“That’s going to continue to present some challenges for the country and we are in fact due to put our Fiscal Strategy Report before Parliament on the third, which will outline the challenges and our responses to those challenges.”
He said government is still hoping for a rebound next year, given that three companies have independently announced successful vaccines for COVID-19, though he said challenges persist.
“I think it’s no secret that this is a difficult challenge and difficult time for the country, and so we’ll do the best we can,” said Turnquest.
“As I said, we’ll put our report before Parliament and have it scrutinized by Parliament.
“And as we go into the new year looking forward to a rebound, hopefully with a successful vaccine treatment protocol, that will allow tourism to come back and start to flourish again, so people can go back to work and our economy can go back to our previous levels.”