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DPM on budget: Govt will not sugarcoat economic troubles

The Nassau Guardian May 27, 2020

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said in a statement yesterday that the government’s 2020/2021 budget, which is being presented today, will lay out a path to transform the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis into an opportunity for the country’s future recovery.

Turnquest added, though, that the government will not “sugarcoat” the country’s economic troubles and its response to those problems, explaining that all Bahamians should understand the “dire straits we are in”.

The country has been in economic decline since Hurricane Dorian last September. COVID-19 has added to the hardship with the complete shutdown of the tourism sector.

Turnquest’s statement revealed that the budget is called “Resilient Bahamas: a Plan for Restoration”.

“Ahead of my presentation tomorrow, I want to reiterate that we are going to provide an honest take on where we are as a country,” said Turnquest.

“From the House of Assembly to the homes of Bahamians, we are all doing our part to cope with and overcome this global economic crisis. In fact, people and governments around the world are having to reprioritize and adjust their daily lives to navigate the challenges presented with COVID-19.

“The reassuring takeaway I want to leave with citizens and residents is that the government is singularly focused on protecting families, communities, businesses and stabilizing our economy.

“We demonstrated these priorities in our immediate response and if there are two words to define the budget I will present tomorrow, they are ‘protect and stabilize’.”

Turnquest said the country’s upcoming budget will focus on protecting the country’s most vulnerable citizens as the effects of COVID-19 continue to play out.

“As we have proven in our proactive and focused response to our ongoing emergencies, our budget priorities will reflect our values and lay out a path for transforming this crisis into an opportunity for our future recovery,” he said.

He also called on Bahamians to be engaged in the budget process and said the Ministry of Finance has gone to “new lengths to make information about the budget more visual, interactive and easier to understand”.

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