By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Bahamas’ 60-70 per cent debt-to-GDP ratio is “not unusual” when compared to other nations within the Caribbean, the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) country representative said yesterday.
Maria Florencia Attademo-Hirt, addressing reporters at a press conference at the 2016 IDB and Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) meeting, said that when compared with other Caribbean countries, the Bahamas is not in the “upper end”.
She was speaking to the IDB’s position on the Bahamas’ debt-to-GDP level and its sustainability, and how that would affect the bank’s lending to the Bahamas.
In 2014, the Bahamas recorded a total debt-to-GDP ratio of 73.4 per cent, but Mrs Attademo-Hirt said: “If you compare the debt-to-GDP ratio with other countries in the Caribbean, the Bahamas is not in the upper end.
“If you think about other regional member countries of the bank, and other island nations within the Caribbean, that is not unusual. More than the ratio, I would think about the quality of the debt being incurred, what is the source of the debt, the interest rate on the debt and the purpose of the debt being incurred.
“There are some initiatives well underway, supported by the IDB, that have to do with strengthening the revenue side of the Commonwealth.
Mrs Attademo-Hirt added: “If you look at the global data you will see that it can be more or less. Are we going to focus on the ratio alone; no.
“We are going to look at the composition of the debt, the trajectory of the debt and any other fiscal measures being put out there by the Government to strengthen its fiscal position.”