NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest has cautiously affirmed that there will be no cut to the civil service in light of the COVID-19 fall-out.
Turnquest was addressing reporters during a Ministry of Finance press conference on the start of the new fiscal year via Zoom.
He said: “That is still the position. Of course we like everyone else domestically and internationally are watching and observing global events and how they are impacting the local economy. We will adjust as the needs dictate. As of today we certainly don’t anticipate and continue hold the position that we will not have any mass lay-offs or reductions or any other austerity measures with respect to the civil service.”
Still, Turnquest added: “Again I want to be cautious and just say that we have to watch the developments which will dictate the pace at which we can maintain what we have and continue to support the Bahamian population in their most important and necessary needs, continue to support the economy and provide as much assistance as we can.”
With the 2020/2021 budget in effect as of July 1, Turnquest urged the Bahamians to take advantage of the various relief measures and incentives offered.
“The expanded tax credit and tax deferral programme also takes effect and will include all VAT registrants and not just those with an annual turnover of $3 million or more. This will provide payroll support for hundreds more eligible businesses allowing them to keep more people employed,” said Turnquest.
He added: “The start of the new budget cycle means additional funding is now available to invest in small businesses, to maintain employment levels, and to expand the social safety net for for displaced workers and other vulnerable Bahamians.”