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Turnquest: No decision yet on possible public sector cuts

With continued economic uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said the government has yet to decide whether there will be cuts in the public service sector.

“At the moment, we still have not made any decisions about the public service and any kind of adjustments there,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to sustain our current levels and ensure that persons are able to meet their commitments.”

With major resorts still shuttered months into the pandemic and the continued need for stringent measures to slow the spread of the virus, it is unclear how many people in The Bahamas are presently unemployed.

However, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said in June that roughly 55,000 of the country’s 225,000-person workforce had applied for unemployment benefits.

Turnquest said it is clear that difficult times are ahead, noting the government’s intention to continue funding social assistance programs to help families keep their heads above water.

However, he noted that while revenue is still at about what was projected in the budget, expenditure is above target as a result of those programs.

“We’ve always said that we have planned for an interim period of lower income to the government,” he said.

“Up to now, we’ve been tracking pretty much where we projected.

“…The expenditure is elevated as a result of all the social programs that we’re trying to follow through.

“But the good news is, again, we budgeted for this.”

He said the government is still “more or less” where it expected to be financially.

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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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