Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.
Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE government yesterday presented a resolution to Parliament to facilitate loans from the Inter-American Development Bank to finance some $90m in projects in support of coastal management, airport infrastructure and various skill development initiatives.
The government has stressed that the resolution is not new borrowing and will not add to the government's debt levels because the facility was approved by Parliament during the 2017 budget debate.
In the House of Assembly yesterday, Finance and Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest tabled the resolution for the government to borrow $35m for climate-resilient coastal management and infrastructure projects; $35m for an airport infrastructure programme and an additional $25m for a jobs skills initiative.
While Mr Turnquest didn't give clear specifics for the loan and its repayment parameters, he did indicate the loan would allow for the creation of natural barriers to address coastal erosion and the construction of seawalls on Grand Bahama and New Providence.
Additionally, the East Grand Bahama MP said the loan would allow for the construction of and/or improvement to the existing terminals and runways at airports in North Eleuthera, Treasure Cay, Abaco; Marsh Harbour, Abaco and Exuma.
Mr Turnquest also said the $90m would make provisions for the enhancement of the country's labour process to ensure that job seekers are qualified and prepared for the labour markets.
Provisions are also being made for the construction of new facilities at the Ministry of Labour.
Yesterday, the government stressed it is committed to fiscal prudence and the facility did not represent new loans.
"Any loan drawdowns, interest payments or principal repayments due to the IDB during this fiscal year for ongoing projects would have already been factored into the government's existing borrowing plan," a statement from the Minnis administration noted.
"The government's commitment to fiscal discipline remains unshaken and is readily apparent in the improving budgetary numbers reported recently by the Central Bank."