NASSAU, BAHAMAS — After more than five months of a total tourism shutdown, the country’s foreign reserves remain at a fairly healthy $2.1 billion, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest.
During a communication to Parliament today, Turnquest added the viability of the country’s exchange regime remains “robust”.
He explained the $2.1 billion is equal to 38 weeks of import cover, and close to levels at the start of the pandemic.
“The position of the public treasury is secure, and the viability of the Bahamian dollar and the exchange regime remains robust.,” he said.
“This government has a plan. It is working its plan and despite all the challenges, the viability of the Bahamian dollar and the exchange regime remains robust. Although the situation is fluid, we are confident that we have enough reserves to take us through this difficult time until we fully reopen the tourism sector.”
He continued: “The bottom line for the way forward is that we need the domestic economy up and running, and we need to get the tourism sector moving again: urgently and safely. Public anxiety about the economic crisis is real and valid; however, if lives are at stake, public health priorities must take precedence.
“If our cases continue to increase, that too will dampen consumer demand, participation in the economy, and curtail any visitor arrivals. No one wants to live in or travel to a COVID-19 hotspot, particularly one that is offshore with medical facilities that are already taxed by local demand.
He added: “Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to reconcile the public health and the economic welfare objectives amid a global pandemic. We must tackle and achieve success on both fronts by working together.”