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James Smith Answers the RBC Lady

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7 February

Last week, we spoke about the statement by Marla Dukharan, an economist with the Royal Bank of Canada on the performance of the Bahamas Government since VAT was implemented. She spoke out of turn. James Smith, former Minister of State for Finance told this to the Tribune in his own words:
“I thought it was, in some instances, a bit too superficial for a chief economist,” Mr Smith, a former minister of state for finance and Central Bank governor, told Tribune Business.

“The conclusions were not based on a rigorous analysis, and set in a contextual framework. She’s put out a broad statement that we had a good implementation of VAT, but we’ve squandered it by overspending.”

“I’m not arguing with the broad based conclusion, but coming from one of the top banks in the world, she should stand to do more analytical things, rather than more self-serving conclusions that are not evidence based.”

“[As for her comments on Foreign Direct Investment] that is a part of globalisation, attracting FDI,” Mr Smith said. “It’s like saying we’re over-reliant on tourism, so do away with it. That’s like telling the Arab countries to move away from oil.
“I would have expected more analysis of what’s really there and the context in which the Budget unfolds in this country. She could have come to the same conclusions, but would have to bring more rigorous analysis.”