The Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest is both hapless and hopeless. He announced that the country is broke and the cupboard was bare. Yet he was able to go shopping for 750 million U S dollars to prop up the reserves of the country and have it oversubscribed three times. The back channel chat was that he was embarrassed time and again by his public officials and his own conduct because he seemed woefully under prepared for the task. Nevertheless the irony of his position must be pointed out, the cupboard cannot be bare if the banks are willing to lend you 750 million dollars. Chester Cooper, the PLP’s Deputy Leader, issued this statement in reply:
COMMENTS BY I. CHESTER COOPER MP, DEPUTY LEADER
SHADOW MINISTER OF FINANCE, FINANCIAL SERVICES & INDUSTRY
RESPONSE TO GOVERNMENT $750m Bond Offering
November 15, 2017
I note the Government’s press release on the raise of a US$750m bond. The Government boasts indicative interest in excess $2.8bn. This is tangible proof that the cupboard was never bare. We rest our case.
We note that $300m is being used to pay-off domestic treasury bills and bank advances. We question the logic of borrowing U.S. dollars to pay off Bahamian dollar loans at a time of excess liquidity in the system.
Although the Government boast its success for locking in new debt after an intensive globe trot; we re-iterate the point that since the FNM took office, there has been no significant foreign direct investments (FDI) materializing and the government has presented no plan of any kind to spur life into the economy.
I look forward to the government’s focused attention on job creation as there have been extensive layoffs and many Bahamian families are hurting. We await the government’s attention to creating opportunities job creation, economic growth, FDI and driving entrepreneurship and domestic investment.
As an aside, we find it interesting that the Minister used accrual based accounting to report the deficit. However, in a speech to Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants as reported by the press, the Prime Minister indicated the Government’s intent to move to an accrual based accounting system by 2022; which accurately demonstrates the point that there is no partial or selective acceptance of the new basis.
Again, we rest our case on this matter and urge the Minister to now focus on economic growth rather than accounting trick