The Ministry of Finance takes note of the statement by Moody’s with respect to placing The Bahamas on review for a downgrade. This action, in itself, was not unexpected, given the undesirable state of the fiscal situation, as detailed in the Government’s 2017/18 Budget Communication.
This administration, however, is moving expeditiously to address the fiscal situation which has given rise to this credit rating review exercise and possible downgrade.
These steps include the planned introduction of Fiscal Responsibility legislation, new procurement regulations and a comprehensive public expenditure review, with the objective of achieving savings and ensuring consistency with the Government’s policy priorities.
The risk posed to the nation’s fiscal position by the threat of weather-related events is also under review. Work on all of these areas has commenced, and the results are expected before the end of this fiscal year.
In supporting initiatives, the Government’s efforts to strengthen revenue administration are receiving renewed focus, especially in the areas of real property taxes, customs, VAT and Business License administration and enforcement.
Their effectiveness will be reinforced by the Government’s plan to introduce a Revenue Administration Bill, to enhance the mechanisms available for dealing with tax delinquencies.
In addition to addressing the fiscal challenges we face, this administration will tackle the challenges to economic growth that confront us by moving quickly to improve the ease of doing business in The Bahamas, addressing structural impediments to growth and attracting foreign direct investment that has a demonstrably positive impact on the local economy.
While this review is an unfortunate development, it serves to underscore the imperative of taking decisive and timely measures to secure the fiscal health of The Bahamas and by extension, the future welfare of all Bahamians.