The New York Carib News
Monday, October 21, 2019
Monday, October 21, 2019
NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – The Bahamas government has welcomed a report by the US-based rating agency, Standard & Poor’s that early signs suggest that the Caribbean country is well-positioned to handle the ongoing fallout following the passage of Hurricane Dorian last month.
The category 5 storm, packing winds in excess of 180 miles per hour (mph), slammed into the chain of the island on September 1, causing at least 60 deaths and widespread destruction, mainly in Grand Bahama and Abaco Island.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in a statement to Parliament on Wednesday, outlining the progress being made since the passage of the storm, said that he was pleased with the report of the international rating agency that had been issued earlier this month.
“It is abundantly clear from this report that the government’s disciplined fiscal strategy since coming to office stabilized public finances. This strategy also gave the country fiscal breathing room following a series of downgrades and negative economic growth,” Minnis told legislators.
He said the Fiscal Responsibility Act is an essential component of a sustainable fiscal regime.
“The natural disaster insurance strategy the government pursued has also made an enormous difference in terms of our credit worthiness and fiscal position. We will continue to show the political and policy commitment to fiscal responsibility required to keep The Bahamas on a prudent and stable fiscal track,” Minnis added.
In its report, Standard & Poor’s said it continues to evaluate the short-to-medium-term credit effect, if any, of Hurricane Dorian on the country, noting that “preliminary information available to us suggests that the long-term effects of the hurricane on credit quality could be limited provided that the government is able to respond in a timely manner to the various challenges posed by the natural disaster.”
The rating agency said that while damage has been confined to two islands, they represented 15 percent to 20 percent of Bahamian gross domestic product (GDP). “Despite the significant damage to Abaco and Grand Bahama, several factors suggest that the long-term effects of the hurricane on The Bahamas’ credit quality could be limited. The hurricane struck outside of peak tourist season, and the physical damage was concentrated on two islands that together only attract 20 percent of tourists.”