Revenue collection will get on track by year’s-end
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As the government seeks to reign in on expenditure in the latter half of this fiscal year while increasing its revenue collections after revenue underperformed in the first six months of 2018/2019, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday the government will scale back certain non-essential projects planned for the next fiscal period to ensure it meets its fiscal strategy.
He maintained that government will not nor does it foresee any increase in taxes or new taxes, a pledge made during the mid-year budget communication in Parliament.
“The positive news is that we are trending towards our projections,” he said.
“In other words, since the beginning of the New Year when the full effect of the value-added tax increase and we are now starting to see the roll in of the traditional revenue that happens during this revenue rich period.
“We are seeing convergence and so, we are very pleased with where we are and where we are trending in that regard. There probably will be some lag between our full-year projections and the actuals, but we anticipate we will still meet our budgeted deficit for the year.”
On the expenditure side, the minister said the government is where it anticipated being at this stage of the fiscal year and remains mindful of the revenue shortfall and taking into account it its spending plans for the latter half of the fiscal year.
“We are being very careful about that,” he said.
“Yes, that means there may be things we would have liked to do that we can’t do, but we are taking those into account and being responsible about that without cutting services; without cutting benefits to the Bahamian people, and fulfilling our commitments with respect to paying arrears and the like.”
He was unable to provide specifics on the programs that could be impacted or scaled back in an effort to curb expenditure, but Turnquest assured that government will continue to provide advance a number of its key agenda initiatives.
He said, however, the Minnis administration will exercise “prudence”.
“I think generally speaking there are some projects and some plans that have been scheduled for this year that have not advanced at the stage where they can be executed
“We are seeing some savings in that regard.
“Again, we are being very judicious about our spending plans for the rest of the year and holding tight to that fiscal control through the period, so that we make sure we come within our expectation or certainly within the margin of error that is allowed within the fiscal responsibility legislation.”