FNM touts success of govt. after favourable IMF report

Deputy Prime and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – After a recent review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) commended the government for several key policy initiatives, the Free National Movement (FNM) said The Bahamas continues to earn positive reaction from the international community, who recognizes the concrete steps the government has taken to rebuild the economy.

“We have worked hard to deliver on our promises to lift all of the economy instead of focusing on the chosen few,” outlined a statement released Thursday by the FNM .

“The latest IMF report continues to show a very positive outlook on our economic growth.

“While tourism is a key sector, what is most encouraging is the fact that we are attracting new visitors from new places including the massive growth among visitors from Canada.”

The FNM said the IMF and similar organizations are weighing the totality of the government’s efforts as they work every day to ensure the country is moving in the right direction.

“And while we welcome all the positive news and attention those efforts are yielding thus far, we will never forget this economic rebound is still relatively new and we must keep working to grow the economy for everyone,” the FNM said.

“The FNM Government, led by Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis, will continue to stay the course on our critical fiscal policies that are yielding results.”

The FNM said as the government continues to boost economic growth and increase government transparency, the world will continue to hold The Bahamas in a positive view, which will ultimately lead to an even greater increase in tourism while also encouraging more companies to move to The Bahamas to help diversify the economy.

“Our economy, just as our country, is now clearly on the right path and will continue to be as long as we continue to see the course and ensure it remains – the People’s Time,” the FNM statement concluded.

Following its December visit, which was conducted to review the latest economic developments and to prepare for the April 2019 Article IV Consultation, the IMF published favourable feedback in an interim report on The Bahamas, which highlighted the positive strides made by the Bahamian government.

The IMF Mission outlined key economic indicators in its report, which stated that the Bahamian economy continued to recover, with real GDP growth projected to reach 2.3 per cent in 2018 and 2.1 per cent in 2019.

It outlined that the fiscal deficit narrowed from 5.5 per cent of GDP in fiscal year 2017 to an estimated 3.3 per cent in fiscal year 2018.

The IMF Mission said in the budget for fiscal year 2019, the government committed to further fiscal consolidation, targeting an overall deficit of 1.8 per cent of GDP.

The IMP further stated that as of June 2018, the average capital to risk-weighted assets ratio across domestic institutions was 34 per cent, above the regulatory target ratio of 17 per cent.

The Mission also revealed that non-performing loans declined to 9.6 per cent of total loans, from 12.3 per cent a year earlier.

Finance Minister Peter Turnquest said the government plans to stay the course with its fiscal strategy to boost economic growth, strengthen the fiscal balance and increase transparency and government accountability.