As the Government prepares for a month of intense budget debate in Parliament, the public can expect to learn further details about the FY2020/21 Annual Budget during the debate contributions by Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament.
By the time the new budget takes effect on July 1, the public should have a detailed understanding about ‘Resilient Bahamas: A Plan for Restoration’, which is the Government’s plan to use public finances to protect, families, communities, and businesses; to stabilize the weakened economy; and to transform the current crises into an opportunity for future prosperity. The Government’s new and revised programs and expanded and extended initiatives will be articulated across every sector.
“It is important to understand that the ‘Resilient Bahamas’ Plan bridges the gap between where we are now and where we are going. The Budget cycle only covers a 12-month period, and as I have emphasized, our full economic recovery will take time,” said K. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
“While we are slowly starting to reopen our economy, the world is still in crisis, and The Bahamas is still reeling from the external shocks of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 global pandemic. We will rebound and know prosperity again. To get there, we must be practical about our fiscal realities, and forward-looking about what we can and need to prioritize now,” said Minister Turnquest, who presented the Budget Communication in Parliament last week.
Unlike the ‘Resilient Bahamas’ plan, which provides solutions for the country in the immediate and short-term, the Economic Recovery Committee (ERC), appointed by Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, is mandated to focus on the country’s long-term economic revival and sustainable development. The Committee is working concurrently with the Government, as budget plans are finalized by Parliament for the new fiscal year.
The Prime Minister’s mandate to the ERC includes providing sustainable fixes and mitigation initiatives to address the weakened state of the economy, and to present a bold vision for a modern economy that is stronger, resilient, diversified, and future-driven. Policy recommendations are expected to chart a course for what is next after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.
“The actions we take in the new budget, will create a pathway to restore what has been lost by these unprecedented external economic shocks. It will make us prepared and ready to fully participate in the economic recovery. It is an important bridge to transform these unprecedented crises into opportunities for our future prosperity,”
The ERC, which operates out of the Office of the Prime Minister, is currently conducting a seven-week period of public engagement to seek sector specific recommendations and input for ten key sectors.
It will collaborate and consult with stakeholders and to deliver a position statement to the Government on the current state of the economy, inclusive of immediate fixes and mitigation initiatives.
The subcommittees appointed by the Prime Minister in mid-May include: Structural Reform, Financial Services, Digitization & The Conceptual Economy, Tourism & The Orange Economy, Healthcare & Social Capital, Commerce, Entrepreneurship, & Next Generation (Youth) Engagement, Agriculture, Fisheries & Manufacturing, Family Islands Development, Energy & Environmental Stewardship, Labour & Education. They will facilitate public and stakeholder engagement via direct meetings, virtual town hall meetings, and presentations.
Stay abreast of the ERC’s work and follow their social media pages!