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Privatisation Is Considered For State-Run Enterprises

Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest.

Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest.

 By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Deputy Chief Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

DEPUTY Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest said the government will consider turning state owned enterprises or quasi-government corporations over to the private sector as a way of retiring debt because the subsidies provided to them are exorbitant.

The 2017-2018 Budget includes $429m in funding for 25 state owned enterprises (SOEs) — $79m more than last year, Mr Turnquest, who is also the minister of finance, said on Wednesday.

He described the increase as “clearly unsustainable” moving forward.

“We will also seek to reduce these subsidies to an irreducible minimum and apply a very rigid test on future requests for financial subsidies to ensure that more money is available to finance the operations of the government,” Mr Turnquest said during his presentation of the 2017-2018 Budget in the House of Assembly Wednesday.

“This budget includes funding in the amount of $429 million for 25 SOEs, quasi-government corporations is $79 million more than last year, primarily because of the introduction of National Health Insurance.

“As this is clearly unsustainable, this administration will develop concrete action plans to transform these enterprises either into viable, efficient and self-sufficient entities.”

Some of the more prominent SOEs in the country include Bahamasair Holdings Ltd, Bank of The Bahamas, Bahamas Power and Light Ltd, Water and Sewerage Corporation, the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (ZNS), Nassau Flight Services and the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas.

The Minnis administration projects borrowing more than $722m to cover inherited outstanding bills along with the costs associated with running the country moving forward. This covers a period of two fiscal terms.

He said the government came to this conclusion after discovering the current fiscal year is “far bleaker” than anyone could have imagined as the Christie administration left “the cupboard bare.”

The deputy prime minister explained that $400m is needed to satisfy expenditure for the past year, while $322,462,707m will be borrowed for the 2017-2018 Budget, amounting to a whopping $722,462,707m.

Describing the new administration’s position as “difficult” because it has to grapple with an “historically high burden” of government debt, Mr Turnquest said to continue on this track is “destructive.”

Therefore, he said the government will have to run a ship that is fiscally prudent with an agenda of change aimed at eliminating the deficit to return the debt level to more sustainable levels.

Comments

sheeprunner12 3 years, 1 month ago

Sell, PPP or liquidate the SOEs ........... Just look at what the BTC and Arawak Port models have resulted in ................... Ingraham had the right idea, now KPT must perfect it and get rid of these non-performing government agencies .......... Let Bahamians buy shares in many of these SOEs and get some of the wealth ........... BTC needs to be further divested to the public

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ohdrap4 3 years, 1 month ago

the arawak port has made prices skyrocket. the deal with water sold to water and sewage allowed dirty water to be procided to consumers and the water bills are higher then electricity.

bad examples.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 1 month ago

Well Rap .............. how many other choices we have right now????? .......... Do you want to continue for another 5 years with BEC, Bahamasair, W&SC, BAIC, HCB, BOB and NFS sucking sudge off the Treasury - with no profit, service or cost-cutting incentives??????? ........... At least, we should consider PPPs with minimal subsidies as a Phase 1 measure ...... That alone will save the government at least $200 million a year.

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ohdrap4 3 years, 1 month ago

water and sewage charges more then bec for water as it is. privatised will be even more,

as for bahamasair, leave it there.

a few years ago, bahmas ferries was all over the tribune saying they would connect all the islands.

go to the website now, they no longer carry passengers to abaco, --suspended till further notice--, for the past two years they canceled trips left right and center.

i will not fly flamingo air, the man crashed in grand bahamas with his own family on board.

they can cut the blody subsidies byt firing political operatives.

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truetruebahamian 3 years, 1 month ago

This is the ONLY way that all sectors of the contributors to our economic progress to know that their decisions are made to the best advantage of all - the poorest pay the most for extremely costly and monetary bleeding of governmenmental and semi governmental ornaments for the bling that they want to show as their showy and uselessly costly ornaments which they wish to show as being a showpiece for our country but are international laughing stocks and way past stupid promises to further drain our economic funds. Dump all fiscally draining corporations and let privatisation take a positive direction.

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Emac 3 years, 1 month ago

Well it is quite obvious that ohdrap4 does not appreciate what cutting back means in terms of finance. I can't understand why people find it so hard to comprehend that the Bahamas just CANNOT sustain these deadbeat corporations any more! There's no ifs and buts about it. It is do or die. Apparently, the majority of Bahamians are unaware of the fact that the Bahamas is hanging from a thread financially.

Yeah, yeah, we all love the convenience of being able to bring in over weighted luggage without paying extra on Bahamasair, or being able to take our own sweet time paying our water bill at the water corporation, or even being able to get an easy loan through our friends at BOB. But, things a change and whether we accept it or not, the Bahamas will take a nose dive before it rises,if it rises. And, we will not move forward as a nation, until most Bahamians begin to take responsibility, collectively. for the mess we have all made for ourselves.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 1 month ago

Tell them the truth, that this is a order by the WTO.

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Socrates 3 years, 1 month ago

The unofficial CIA motto says '..the truth shall set you free'.. if we want to get out of this debt trap, we have to let these sick state supported agencies go and stop being sentimental about it. some will sink and some entrepeneur will rise to replace them.. its the only way.. we just dont have the financial resources to continue down this hopeless path...

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