Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest stated that this Government’s Administration has acknowledged the decision by credit ratings agency Moody’s to downgrade the country’s credit rating as a result of the economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, DPM Turnquest also noted that similarly, Italy, India and even Canada have also seen downgrades. “I want to reiterate that fair-minded Bahamians know that our current state of fiscal affairs is a result of these external shocks and not because of our performance as a Government,” he explained during a virtual Budget Education Campaign Wind Down Press Conference on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
The DPM stated that Moody’s highlighted that this administration has shown leadership by significantly improving the government’s fiscal credibility and effectiveness through its accountable, and responsible fiscal policy framework and consolidation efforts.
“As we learn of layoffs associated with the tourism sector shutdown, these unfortunate outcomes will no doubt continue to create hardship for our people. “Those workers represent hundreds of households and thousands of mouths to feed. That is why we anchored our plan for the new fiscal year in the current realities. That is why we chose to invest in families, communities, and businesses, who need the support of their government to survive this crisis and emerge ready for new opportunities.”
He implored Bahamians to take advantage of available programs and not fall victim to the cynicism that often defines local politics. “Critics will always make the argument that the Government could and should do more. These critiques do not change the fact that this budget has an unprecedented, massive and necessary allocation for social support programmes to assist Bahamians in meeting basic needs. “Bahamians cannot reap the benefits if they do not apply, utilize and take advantage.
By all means, keep us accountable along the way, but I implore you to
take advantage of the programs, and together we can and will overcome this crisis.” DPM Turnquest explained that the Government has put in place a plan that is people focused and targeted towards the most important and urgent needs at this time.
That includes unemployment assistance, food assistance and other forms of economic support. These are not just helpful programs; they are essential programs. “As we look towards the new fiscal year, we will remain nimble as we continue to navigate this ongoing crisis. To meet the needs, we will adapt quickly to the evolving demands of the crisis. I will close by reiterating what I said earlier, I encourage Bahamians to keep the resilient spirit alive and to take advantage of the many forms of support that is available.”
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