By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis said he believes the Minnis administration is heading towards an International Monetary Fund structural adjustment programme but that he would go to the IMF only as a last resort if elected.
“The situation is desperate,” he said of the country’s fiscal affairs. “This government is out of money, crashing on the rocks. Bahamians are suffering terribly. The Prime Minister who is now also the Minister of Finance has no idea how to manage this economic crisis, has no answers and no plans for the way forward.
“I think our financial challenge to date is leading to an IMF restructuring loan with this government. That step for a Davis-Cooper administration would be the last resort. We would have the opportunity as a new government to reverse a lot of trends and to implement our own economic plan which has as its overarching principle growing the economy and identifying natural resources that could help us address our immediate debt burden. So, we have a plan that hopefully what we meet will give us the opportunity to buy the time to do what we think is necessary.”
Asked what a Davis administration could do in the short-term to stem the country’s fiscal woes, he said: “What can be done initially is to restructure our debt to allow us more headroom to be able to incentivise growth of the economy and I would think that would require confidence in the government to be able to negotiate a good deal to postpone some of our debt repayment to allow us some of that headroom. We think we have a cadre of people that would allow us to inspire that confidence in the money markets to allow us to do that.”
Mr Davis predicted the next budget will be painful for Bahamians.
The Minnis administration, he said, has “just enough sense to understand that they cannot win re-election after showing through a budget that takes more from people who have nothing left to give.”