By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The deputy prime minister yesterday said the Government has alerted the international capital markets that it is preparing to market and issue its foreign currency bond offering.
K Peter Turnquest told Tribune Business that "the bond notice" was issued yesterday, and signalled that the Government was proceeding in accordance with the previously outlined October/November 2020 schedule for raising the majority of the debt financing that will cover the record $1.327bn fiscal deficit projected for 2020-2021.
"I think at this point we are proceeding," Mr Turnquest said, declining to provide details such as the total amount the Government is seeking to raise; the interest rate it is offering to investors; and other likely terms and conditions.
The "notice", which was issued on the day that the Prime Minister unveiled weekend lockdowns and extended curfews to curtail COVID-19's spread on New Providence and Abaco, alerts potential investors to the fact the bond issue will become available shortly.
When asked if these restrictions, together with the slower-than-anticipated rebound of the hotel and tourism sector, make it likely that The Bahamas will have to revise its fiscal and economic growth projections, Mr Turnquest said any adjustments will be contained in the annual Fiscal Strategy Report that the Government will present to Parliament next month.
"In a couple of weeks we will report on where we are, where we think we will end up and the path for getting there," he added. "We've always said we anticipated the tourism rebound would be slow, and the domestic economy is coming along.
"It's obviously impacted by the fact a significant portion of the economy is shut down by factors beyond anybody's control at the moment. Again, we've already signalled that we are in fact reforecasting consistently."
The Government has already raised $500m worth of financing for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, including loans of $200m and $40m from the Inter-American Development Bank and Caribbean Development Bank respectively. Further financing is thought to have been raised from Bahamas-based commercial banks.
The Minnis administration is also seeking the majority of the Budget's debt financing in foreign currency, chiefly US dollars, as a means to boost the external reserves that support the one:one currency peg with the US dollar due to the absence of tourism-related capital inflows.