0

The Budget: Govt Revenues Set For $900m Drop, Tax Relief Measures Introduced

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest delivers the Budget Communication in the House of Assembly.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest delivers the Budget Communication in the House of Assembly.

DEPUTY Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest revealed today that there will be a $900m drop in government revenues resulting in a national deficit of $1.3 billion by June next year, brought on by Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, delivering the government’s 2020/21 Budget Communication in the House of Assembly, Mr Turnquest said there will be no increase in taxes or public sector layoffs.

Also from the 2020/21 Budget:

• Government will allocate over $120 million to continue and expand the Tax Credit/Tax Deferral programme to provide cash directly to businesses to fund their payroll expenses to help keep people employed. $85 million will be allocated to the social safety net.

• Reductions across government ministries include the elimination of: red plate vehicles to ministers in order to utilise them in other areas of the public service; all international travel – except in essential circumstances; the practice of The House of Assembly providing breakfast and lunch.

• The Special Economic Recovery Zone (Relief Order) 2019 will be extended to December 2020, which will include all concessions currently available to the qualifying islands. For the period January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021, the concessions will be extended to cover building materials only.

• Economic support measures include $48 million for continued unemployment assistance; $17 million in increased social welfare spending and a temporary incremental monthly increase of $50.00 in the Old Age Pension; $20 million in contingency funding allocation for Public Health Sector Support; $30 million to expand the business support and continuity loan programme for Bahamian entrepreneurs and small businesses.

• Discussions have begun with the relevant unions for the pausing of all increments to permanent and pensionable civil servants, as well as temporarily suspending salary increases and deferring salary increases attendant to promotion exercises.

• The Government will provide for a ‘back-to-school’ VAT holiday on school supplies, clothing and select food items for the two weeks leading to the reopening of schools.

• There will be a reduction in duty for the agriculture and fisheries industry; farming equipment for the use of backyard farming; building materials and Personal Protective Equipment items.

• The tax-free transfer of land will be expanded where there is no change in beneficial ownership, with the approval of the VAT Controller.

SEE THURSDAY'S TRIBUNE FOR FULL COVERAGE AND REACTION TO THE 2020/21 BUDGET

Comments

thps 1 month ago

interesting and a lot to take in.

First thoughts and let not fool our selves taxes will go up not now but later. The most expensive things are free. We will pay for the borrowing, we're just not paying for it in taxes now. Eventually, the bills will come due. That is unless we get an economic boom like never seen before.

I mentioned before we are always a hurricane or two away from blowing through any fiscal consolidation plans. I do wonder if the budgets account for these. Unlike pandemics, hurricanes are a way of life.

I mentioned before between 2019/20 and 20/21 we'll borrow about 2b dollars. Im still surprised that they didn't get those test kits as they were deemed too expensive. I assume those very kits will help this entire process and probably save in the long run.

Tax holidays are interesting concepts. I do wonder if a better approach would be to take an allotted amount and target those who need it for school shopping. Broad tax holidays mean people are can easily afford it and can pay the tax also get a break. So then govt loses revenue and helps those who also don't need it and get you later by increasing something else or cutting something else down the line.

like the statements on getting SOEs more independent financially. I do hope there SOE and other restraint measures work. We have however been hearing about this for years. If we don't get a hold of many of our spending issues other structural issues we're never going to be able to work our way out of jams.

Best of luck to our Bahamaland.

0

TalRussell 1 month ago

Not only will there be zero cuts to the government's workforce body count, payroll, and benefits - which just happens to include the paycheques,travel, and entertainment allowances and benefits of the colony's 35 multimillion Imperialists' House elected redcoat MPs.
All this was missed by the media sources flown into Abaco on Friday to observe the government's fake funeral service of the unknown 55 dead...who conveniently out of their sworn redcoats' party loyalty never did bother have road traveled over to capture for themselves how the Abaco Domes have become the submerged shelter at home flood zone for theHurricane Dorian families victims.
All this fakeness and flooding was done whilst under the armed, watchful eyes the colony's constabulary and Marines whilst residents have become submerged knee-high deep under flooding waters.
All this carried out under the watch of the South and North Abaco House elected MP's/cabinet redcoat members who had promised that Abaco's 250 Domes, costing $10 million were to be constructed to stand 12 feet high. Nod once for yeah, Twice for no?

0

hj 1 month ago

Interesting,none of the politicians found it proper to reduce their salaries even by a small percentage. I guess we should be thankful to them for borrowing more money,which will be paid by all Bahamians. Not to mention of course the huge public service sector that continues to get paid in full.

1

buddah17 1 month ago

Yeah.. But they 'teen gettin' no brakefast OR lunch dem!

0

Socrates 1 month ago

Bizarre... revenue projected to fall $900 million, foreign exchange reserves by $1.0 billion and yet no new taxes? Thank God for that given that we already have one of the highest cost of living in the world without the expected benefits that should go with that, but how are we going to pay the bills? Cutting out breakfast and lunch at the House? Bizarre..

1

TalRussell 1 month ago

COVID-19 has taught us that the government can function more efficiently with a fifty percent cut off the payroll registry. That we had far too many vehicles on the road. Our public transport system stinks. That we've become too dependent upon the cruise ship passengers and the small spending of economy sustaining tourist dollars. That no worker's private health plan is guaranteed to anyone.which is why the colony urgently needs a both a universal coverage BahamaCARE Health Plan, and *livable pension plan for all income levels members the PopoulacesOrdinary. Nod once for yeah, Twice for no?

2

Honestman 1 month ago

Sounds like the Government is hoping that the tourists flock back soon because it seems the Budget has not addressed how we are going to correct this huge deficit. Canceling red plates and meals in the HOA ain't gonna cut it. Why even mention such trivial measures?

1

thps 1 month ago

Correct. The can is getting kicked down the road.

Either we hope for a boom and get more revenues or severely cut spending or get ready for large taxes or we go QE Fed style with the CBB monetizing the debt.

I doubt #4 will happen. The hope will likely be for a combination of the first 3 with the govt banking on increased revenues through economic activity, some spending cuts, and increased taxes later down the road.

0

buddah17 1 month ago

Boy you don't KNOW how much money this is going to save us... Mussie' 'bout tousands a' dollars dem 'erry month!!!

0

avidreader 1 month ago

They mention such trivial measures in the hope that you will be satisfied and not ask for or even expect something more substantial like a pay cut for members of the House. Notice that the politicians did not offer even a symbolic pay cut as an expression of solidarity with or support for the struggling masses. Truly the poor have no champion.

0

DDK 1 month ago

In the old days da ministers back benchers dem BOUGHT THEIR OWN LUNCH!!! Breakfast was never even considered...... Just a TINY example of the rape of The People by those elected to LOOK AFTER The People. .. .

0

DDK 1 month ago

We need to face the fact that this Government, like its predecessor, is neither capable of, nor inclined to, running The Country efficiently. It seems to get worse with every passing General Election. May God help us all.

0

TalRussell 1 month ago

Catered lunches for House elected MPs during a curfew time that you'd be mistaken as a defendant share your family's sob story with a judge - they think they're being considerate by not jailing you even more years than the jail time within their supreme sentencing power hand down. Nod once for yeah, Twice for no?.

0

John 1 month ago

Ok do the math. Government looses 900 million in revenue. But they borrow $1.3 Billion to replace the lost revenue. That’s $600 million more than they lost. Then there is regular or budgeted government borrowing which is another day &300-$600 million. So in a pandemic economy will government’s total borrowing be in excess of $2 Billion?

0

Sign in to comment