Thursday, March 21, 2013
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Prime Minister Perry Christie has said that the government is firmly committed to an “aggressive plan to transform the Bahamian economy and society for the benefit of all Bahamians.”
“Our Charter for Governance sets out, in detail, the various initiatives that we will implement during the course of our mandate in pursuit of those overriding objectives,” the Prime Minister said during his contribution to the 2012/2013 Mid-year Budget Statement in the House of Assembly March 18, 2013.
Prime Minister Christie said that since the May election, the government has taken action in a number of priority areas and continues to develop new initiatives.
However, he also noted that in the first half of the fiscal year since coming to office, the government has had to take stock of the magnitude of the fiscal challenges confronting it.
Prime Minister Christie said that by following through on the fiscal plan that is presented in the Statement, the government will not only create an environment conducive to stronger economic growth and job creation, but will also place the government in a sustainable fiscal position to be able to fully implement its ambitious policy agenda.”
“This fiscal year, the growth of our effective tax base, ie GDP in current dollar terms, has been shaded down and this has been reflected in weaker than projected Recurrent Revenues to the mid-point of the fiscal year.”
He said that as of December 31, 2012, the government had collected $633 million in Recurrent Revenue, as compared to the full-year forecast of $1.55 billion. Relative to the projection for the first half, that is down by some eight per cent.
“This revenue shortfall is due completely to lower than expected inflation and not lower real growth of the economy,” the Prime Minister said.
“In fact, the estimates of real growth developed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continue to confirm our own Budget estimates of 2.5 per cent real growth in 2012, followed by 2.7 growth in 2013.”
He said that the Bahamas’ economy has rebounded from the effects of the global financial and economic crisis and it continues to expand at a modest though decidedly positive rate.
The Prime Minister added that if the government is to make greater inroads in lowering the rate of unemployment nationally, it must and will engender much higher rates of real economic growth.
“I hold a great deal of optimism for the future,” Prime Minister Christie added.
“On-going developments in respect of our tourism plant and new and emerging investments in Grand Bahama and across the Family Islands suggest that we can realistically look forward to brighter economic prospects going forward, along with the attendant new employment opportunities that that entails.”