INCOMING DPM COOPER responds to fiscal snapshot…

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Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper arrives at the House of Assembly to destroy the FNM Government. – FILE PHOTO (Photo by Torrell Glinton)

STATEMENT ON LATEST FISCAL SNAPSHOT

BY CHESTER COOPER, PLP DEPUTY LEADER, SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER

We note the interestingly-timed release of the 2020/2021 fourth quarter fiscal snapshot.

We are pleased that the Minnis administration has met its budget revenue target for the first time since coming to office.

It is difficult to trust numbers issued by those who consistently miss the mark.
However, we are concerned by what else the snapshot does and does not show.

From where we stand, these numbers mean very little as they don’t reflect the true state of government finances.

We have repeatedly asked for the government to give transparent data on the Treasury, cash at hand, the state of our overdraft facilities, our sovereign debt, pandemic spending and all other agreements entered into.

Yet, nothing has been produced.

We are very concerned that this report does not reflect outstanding commitments for which there have been no cash outlay, such as contracts and principal payments on loans that would have been incurred during this period for which there has been no payments.

We note the $3.2 billion in new borrowing requirements from 2019/20 to 2020/21.
We see an explosion in foreign currency borrowings that now accounts for close to 50 percent of our national debt.

This could be problematic, as it means more of our foreign reserves will go to service this foreign debt.
This is occurring against the backdrop of looming balloon payments for the $600 million loan agreement we entered into last year as well as the $250 million borrowed from the International Monetary Fund.

Our sovereign debt is close to $11 billion to date.
We are close to 100 percent debt to GDP.

Optimism about July and August revenue collection is not going to change the underlying severity of the situation.

We are coming very close to a debt crisis and there appears to be no serious economic growth strategy released by this administration that shows how we will service our debt.

Meantime, we are still awaiting the corrected pre-election report, the report on pandemic spending and an accounting of hurricane donations, along with the terms of several loans we have entered into.

We do not know what we will find when we take office after the election next week as this administration has been so opaque about our affairs, but we are confident that the Progressive Liberal Party has the expertise, experience and strategic capability to shepherd us out of the mess the Minnis administration has put the country in.

End