NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Government yesterday revealed that it has ‘extinguished’ approximately $238.3 million in arrears since fiscal 2018/2019.
In its combined first six months fiscal snapshot and report on budgetary performance, the Ministry of Finance noted: “In the first six months of FY2019/20, the Government settled more than half ($53.7 million) of the budgeted $100.9 million in arrears payments, which are spread across several expenditure categories.
“Since FY2018/19, the Government has extinguished approximately $238.3 million in arrears.”
The fiscal period includes July 20 to December 2019.
It was also noted that during the first six months, VAT receipts strengthened by $130.0 million, or 33.7 percent to $515.3 million, to register at 46.8 percent of the annual target.
Collections from gaming taxes nearly doubled to $19.4 million (53.5 percent of the budget), reflecting the implementation of the revised tax regime agreed to by the Government and gaming operators, including 15 percent on revenues up to $24 million and 17.5 percent on revenues greater than $24 million.
“Despite the tax relief provided under the Exigency Order following the passage of Hurricane Dorian, taxes on international trade exceeded collections in the comparative period, by $25.3 million (12.3 percent) at $231.8 million (47.4 percent of the budget),” the report continued.
“The outcome benefited from activity related to an expanding economy as well as the enhanced revenue collection initiatives.”
It added: “Compensation of employees increased by $27.5 million (7.8 percent) to $380.2 million which constituted 49.4 percent of the budget.
“Wages and salaries grew by $26.5 million to $339.0 million, buoyed by the $22.8 million lump sum payment awarded to eligible public service employees in December 2019.
It read: “Higher payments of housing, hardship and other allowances to public staff in the hurricane affected islands boosted allowances by $3.8 million (15.5 percent) to $28.6 million.”