Govt to borrow $1.3 billion

The Minnis administration will seek parliamentary approval to borrow $1.3 billion in the 2020/2021 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

In his budget communication today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said the fiscal deficit is budgeted at some $1.3 billion, or 11.6 percent of GDP for the upcoming fiscal year.

“This is the largest deficit to be incurred by any government in the history of The Bahamas,” he noted.

“This is indeed a testament to the monstrous impact Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19 have leveled back to back on our small, open economy. Almost uniformly, all countries of the region, and indeed the world, are facing similar fiscal situations and in almost every instance they are responding with expanded deficit funding to meet critical COVID-19 health care needs, to expand their social welfare spending, to keep their people employed, and to keep their economies stable.

“While we have sought to trim where we could, our driving ethos has been to do all we can to support Bahamians and to maintain as much employment and economic activity as we can over the near term.   ”

Turnquest said the corresponding government debt level is expected to rise to nearly $9.5 billion, equating to roughly 82.8 percent of GDP.

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