Turnquest: SOEs going private

Turnquest: SOEs going private
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, K. Peter Turnquest.

The Bahamas is one step closer to privatization of government-ran entities as the Minnis administration looks to reduce expenditure in the public sector.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest announced in Parliament earlier this week, that government is aiming to transform government corporations into self-sufficient entities.

Turnquest noted that funding in the amount of $429 million was provided for 25 State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in the 2017/18 fiscal year, representing an increase of $79 million from the previous fiscal year. Such a drain on the public finances he said, must clearly be rationalized.

“To that end, the Government has directed each SOE to articulate a plan to move toward a cost-recovery operating model, which may include a mix of revenue enhancement initiatives, as well as measures to reduce expenditures in-line with industry benchmarks,” Turnquest said.

SOEs including The Water and Sewerage Corporation, Bahamasair and The Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (BCB), Bank of The Bahamas (BOB), Nassau Flight Services (NFS) and the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas (HCB) are among the 25 SOE’s expected to be privatized.

W&SC and Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) are the largest public corporations in The Bahamas. The Bahamas telecommunications sector has been partially privatized since 2011.

Eyewitness News Online understands that the SOEs are now formulating articulated strategies that government expects will take them to this optimized point within three to five years.