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10% Cut - That's Just For Starters

Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest.

Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

THE government expects to achieve even more savings than the 10 per cent reduction in spending ordered for each ministry, according to Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest.

He said this will be realised by identifying duplicate government programmes, cutting overpriced public contracts and eliminating wastage.

He told reporters each ministry will be mandated to present the details of its spending reductions to the government before the next budget communication in June.

On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a variety of conservative fiscal measures, including a ten per cent cut in spending in all government ministries and no new public sector hiring.

In his first televised national address as the nation’s leader, Prime Minister Minnis also said there will be no renewal of contracts for salaries that exceed $100,000 per year. He said he will ensure his ministers “adhere to their budgets and to financial constraints”.

He also announced a reduction in government vehicles as part of a “new era of financial discipline.”

When asked about this yesterday, Mr Turnquest said: “We anticipate that over the year we will achieve a 10 per cent reduction in the recurrent expenditure of every ministry. That is not something that you can say today ‘I’m cutting 10 per cent’ and that’s it. This will go across the year and with the goal that the budget that each ministry has been allocated, they now have to go and reassess where they are going to find 10 per cent.

“And so whether it is in projects, whether it’s in resources, whether it’s in consultancies, whether it’s in services, they will have to figure out how they’re going to, come June of next year, show the Bahamian people that they saved 10 per cent of that budget allocation.

“But even deeper than that, and I think more significant than that and the question you ought to be asking is, what about these expenditure reviews, and what do we expect to achieve by doing that deep audit of all of these various categories of significant expense. Far and above a 10 per cent broad cut, I think we are eyeing a much more significant savings by doing our due diligence with respect to these programmes, the duplicate programmes that we have, the overpricing of contracts, the wastage in the system. We expect greater savings than 10 per cent,” the minister of finance said.

During his national address, Dr Minnis said several forensic audits are being conducted in government ministries to recover, where possible, the people’s money. He said the former administration recklessly spent public funds without checks or balances.

“Approximately a quarter billion dollars was spent by the last administration in the months leading up to the general election. This was another glaring example of the recklessness and massive waste by the former administration, which still today accepts no responsibility for its disastrous governance,” Dr Minnis said.

The Tribune previously reported a “horrendous” $234 million was added to the government’s fiscal deficit during the May 10 general election quarter, according to Central Bank data released earlier this month.

Last month, the Minnis administration passed bills to borrow more than $722m to cover inherited outstanding bills along with the costs associated with running the country moving forward.

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Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 7 months ago

Many of us have time and time again expressed concern about the government's apparent reluctance to disclose to us on an aggregate basis the anticipated total original contract cost, total cost incurred to date and current total expected cost to complete of all the forensic audits already undertaken and expected to be undertaken in the near future. Minnis promised us that his FNM government would be the most transparent one ever. All of the forensic audit contracts should have received the approval of KP as Minister of Finance and his ministry should be monitoring the related costs; accordingly, KP has no excuse whatsoever for not providing us (we, the people) with this information now and with at least quarterly updates of it going forward. It is after all, the people's money that is being spent on these no doubt very costly forensic audits. Come on Minnis and KP, give us the transparency we were promised. We, the people, deserve to know that our money is being spent wisely within the context of what is likely to be recovered from the fraudsters and/or saved by our government through the shutdown of large scale fraudulent schemes.

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Reality_Check 1 year, 7 months ago

If we find out at the end of the day that KP was unable to properly account for and control the costs of the forensic audits and related investigations, with the degree of transparency promised by Minnis, then we have every right to question his willingness and ability to exercise as Minister of Finance the control needed over our country's finances.

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TalRussell 1 year, 7 months ago

Comrade Minister 'KP," for starters are you cutting back on social assistance and pensioner benefits for the poor and the near poor and the elderly? Will you cutback on the budget up at that cesspool of a Fox Hill Prison.

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John 1 year, 7 months ago

If they (government) can kick start and grow the economy then there will be no needs for additional cuts. Focus more on building consumer confidence, investor confidence, unemployment reduction and the painful cuts will be minimal and short term

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OMG 1 year, 7 months ago

Unfortunately this is the reality of the last government out of control spending. As a nativet of Eleuthera why is a small fortune being spent on levelling the ground before construction can even start of the so called "mini hospital". When clinics do not even have basic supplies surely this is the time to review costly expenditure programmes like these. Figures of 30 million have been bandied around for this construction .Can we as a country afford such luxuries when we can't maintain what we already have ?

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realfreethinker 1 year, 7 months ago

Has anyone seen of heard from LBT since the election? I am asking for a friend

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TalRussell 1 year, 7 months ago

Comrade RealFreeThinker. didn't you hear that Long Island's former MP 'Reheasa'- is off practicing for her appearance on 'Dancing With Bahamaland's Defeated MP's." Premiering on Cable Bahamaland in September 2017.

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realfreethinker 1 year, 7 months ago

Tal do you know if Perry will be her partner?

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 7 months ago

KP and Minnis inherited this Perrynomics Budget in May 2017 ......... Is this 10% cut the "fluff" that were built-in to the contracts, consultancies and hirings of the last Cabinet????

This 10% announcement seems a bit belated given that the new Budget was just debated and passed ......... Each Minister must now publicly tell us what and how their 10% cut will affect us

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