Former Central Bank Governor Julian Francis said The Bahamas should experience, at best, flat economic growth in the 12 months following Hurricane Dorian.
Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pegged The Bahamas’ GDP growth at 1.8 percent for 2019 and 1.5 percent over the medium term.
But that was before the Category 5 storm wiped out two of the country’s three largest economies.
“The economy grew by about 2 percent last year. I would imagine that we’ll see either a stagnant position or a slight negative,” Francis said while appearing as a guest on the Guardian Talk Radio talk show Z Live.
“It would be a bit optimistic to think that in the face of this we would see a continuation of the trend, which we had been seeing during the first eight months of this year.”
Francis said there is no question that the storm is now a huge burden that The Bahamas has to assume.
He added that the question is how the country responds to this kind of tragedy.
“We absolutely were, during the earlier part of this year, beginning to be quite optimistic about the continuing recovery after several years – eight or ten years really – of lackluster economic activity and so in 2017, we saw the economy improving and we were anticipating the continued recovery which we experienced in 2018 would be further strengthened during this year. But I was thinking about how one goes about estimating the impact from this event in terms of the growth or lack of growth of the economy,” Francis said. “How is this going to impact the measurement of our economy’s activity over the last couple of years, 2019 compared to 2018?”
Just last month, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) predicted The Bahamas’ gross domestic product growth for 2019 would be 2.2 percent – ahead of most predictions.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest has said the Ministry of Finance is revising its economic outlook and adjusting its budget projections in the wake of Dorian.
Those revised estimations, Turnquest said, would be released in the government’s next quarterly fiscal report.