The government is estimating a $200 million revenue shortfall as a result of Hurricane Dorian’s rampage through the northern Bahamas earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday.
“I think our initial estimate is around $200 million, but again we’re still in the process of finalizing those numbers, but I don’t want to speculate around that at the moment,” he said outside the Churchill Building before the weekly Cabinet meeting.
“Abaco and Grand Bahama represent somewhere around 15 to 20 percent of our GDP (gross domestic product), so this is not an insignificant loss to the economy. But hopefully the reconstruction, the inflows of insurance and proceeds and people putting that to work to rebuild the economy, hopefully that will offset some of the touristic losses that we expect and we will be able to get these communities up and running and contributing again very shortly.”
Although a rapid assessment has been made, Turnquest said last week that the government won’t know the full toll Dorian has placed on the economy for another two weeks or so, following an in-depth assessment by an international firm.
In the meantime Turnquest said the Ministry of Finance is revising its economic outlook and adjusting its budget projections.
“Obviously, this event would have thrown our budget off, so we do have to come back with a revised plan,” he said.
“The Fiscal Responsibility Act requires us to come in November with our fiscal projection outlook for the next budget season, so we will make whatever adjustments are necessary at that time and then when we come to Parliament to present that revised reporting in January, early February, we will be able to outline what has happened, what the affect has been and how we intend to adjust our fiscal outlook going forward to account for it and get us back on track.”