Turnquest: Fiscal projections still on target

Turnquest: Fiscal projections still on target

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest yesterday said the government may be forced to make some ‘reassessments’ in the Fall if the country continues along the current path.

However, Turnquest underscored the government is still on target with its projections.

He said that bridge loan financing in the range of $500 million should be ‘in hand’ this week, with long term financing in place in the Fall.

The finance minister revealed on Monday that he had received a second negative COVID-19 test, and was no longer in self-quarantine.

Turnquest said: “Unfortunately we are in an extended period of shutdown from a tourism standpoint. As we have always said this does pose a risk to our overall economic plan for the medium term going into the new year.

“However, we have also said that our plan built in that between July and November time-frame we did not project a big bump in terms of tourist revenue and from that standpoint were still more or less where we anticipated we would be and on track with respect to the revenue budget. At last check we were on target with respect to the actual numbers and we will see what happens at the end of this month.”

Turnquest said: “Getting down to the Fall, if we continue along the path we are on then we are going to have to do some reassessments. This reassessment could come in many forms in terms of cutting back recurrent expenditure or even on the capital side. At this point we don’t anticipate that would be necessary. We have had some good discussions over the last week between some of the foreign partners. We’re comfortable where we are.”

Turnquest noted while government is concerned, it believes that what it is is currently witnessing is in line with what it had expected. 

“Hopefully this period of curfew and weekend shutdowns will complete its course relatively quickly,” he said.

Speaking with reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting, Turnquest also doubled down on comments regarding the government’s decision to reopen the country’s borders.

Since then there has been a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.

“I think we have all learned some lessons from the opening of the borders on July1,” Turnquest said.

“I stand by my comment. The unfortunate thing we did not calibrate was the returning residents and what that may mean in terms of community spread. We learned from that and we will have to think of some new strategies to deal with it and go from there.”