The latter part of May was dominated by the government’s 2019/20 Budget, which Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest delivered to the House of Assembly on May 29.
In his Budget Communication, Minister Turnquest highlighted key fiscal prospects for the upcoming budget year, and future prospects for the medium-term horizon.
“Although the economy is expanding, the reality is that recovery is not occurring at the pace previously projected, against the backdrop of a number of global factors.”
“We are fully sensitive to the fact that a further improvement in our fiscal outcomes, and the attainment of the legally binding fiscal objectives, is contingent on both ongoing expenditure discipline and the further enhancement of revenues.”
He noted that the revenue yield of the government’s taxation system amounted to some 18.8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2018/19. A number of factors are expected to contribute to a further enhancement of that yield in 2019/20 and beyond.
“As such, we have budgeted for total revenue of $2.628 billion in 2019/20, which represents a $215 million increase over the projected outturn in 2018/19,” he added.
In tandem with the Budget Communication, the government announced that the Ministry of Finance has created a dedicated Budget website explaining key points about the economy and what the Budget means for Bahamians. This will go live at some point this week, according to the Minister.
Earlier in the month, the National Accounts Section of the Department of Statistics released the Annual Gross Domestic Product report for 2018 as compiled by the Production and Expenditure Approaches at the Department, reporting that The Bahamas had recorded 1.6 per cent real growth in 2018.
In other news, The Bahamas played host to 20th Anniversary Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Conference and also hosted meetings with a high-level delegation from the Overseas Private Investment Corp (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution.
The OPIC delegation travelled to the Caribbean region to explore investment opportunities in energy and other critical sectors, as well as strengthen relationships with countries that it says are “key partners in fostering stability and security in the Western Hemisphere”.
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