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PM ‘SHOCKED’ BY IMF OVER DEFICIT: PM says no concerns were raised with him during recent meeting

Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis.

Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune News Editor

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis has said he was shocked by the International Monetary Fund’s conclusion that government spending this fiscal year will outpace revenue by almost three times its projections.

“I’m shocked by that because they met with me and never raised those matters,” he said.

He said he had been busy and wasn’t aware of the IMF’s position until The Tribune asked him about it after an event to open the Turks & Caicos Government Diaspora Office last night. He is scheduled to attend the COP28 event in Dubai.

The IMF’s conclusion was contained in its annual Article IV consultation report on the country.

 The body estimated that the fiscal year’s deficit would be “considerably larger than expected in the budget” at a sum equal to 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

 The fund said more policy measures will be needed to achieve targets.

 The Free National Movement (FNM) jumped on the IMF’s report to say it proves what the party has been saying about the Davis administration’s fiscal strategy and claims.

 “Again and again, the opposition has warned this PLP government that its reckless and wasteful spending will worsen the country’s fiscal position at a time when rising revenues from a recovering economy should be moving the country toward a balanced budget,” East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson, the party’s Shadow Minister of Finance, said in a statement.

 “Now again, the IMF, in its statement released yesterday, is now projecting that the government’s deficit for this fiscal year 2023/2024 will approach $380m, which is almost 300 per cent higher than the $131m deficit in the government’s budget and medium-term fiscal strategy. This massive projected spike in the deficit is also projected by the rating agency Standards & Poor (S&P) in its September 2023 report on The Bahamas.”

 Mr Thompson highlighted that the government has not been publishing monthly and quarterly budget and fiscal reports as the law requires, with the last two quarterly reports still outstanding, as are August, September and October reports.

 “It would seem that the Davis administration has been and continues to keep away the lawful reports of the shaky state of the public finances from their employer, the Bahamian taxpayer,” he said.

 Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis said in a statement last night that the administration has met or beat every deficit projection given over the past two years and is confident it will meet the 2024 projections.

 “What you see is an opinion of the IMF that our revenue will not come in as well as we estimate that it will,” he said. “We have a difference of opinion. Remember that since 2021, we have had the IMF and the rating agencies consistently underestimating how our revenue can perform. Our experience has shown that our revenue along with the growth in the economy has performed very well. We believe that will continue.”

 He said in the 2022/2023 fiscal period, the deficit was $42m below projections.

 He also noted that the IMF has revised its economic growth projection for the economy to 2.3 per cent, up from 1.8 per cent.

“That’s a massive revision,” he said, adding it reflects that the economy is growing and inflation is declining.

Comments

themessenger 2 months, 4 weeks ago

He said he had been busy and wasn’t aware of the IMF’s position until The Tribune asked him about it after an event to open the Turks & Caicos Government Diaspora Office last night. He is scheduled to attend the COP28 event in Dubai.

Is that an admission that he’s been asleep at the wheel and the cost of all those air miles is finally coming home to roost?

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Sickened 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Absolutely. He's in a constant state of jet lag and most likely slept through the entire meeting with the IMF. Davis certainly has a single focus. Unfortunately, it is not The Bahamas.

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Why does this man lie so much???? ............. Sorry, I forgot - he is a lawyer and a politician.

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K4C 2 months, 4 weeks ago

PM Davis was shocked to discover it's dark at night

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AnObserver 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Give him a break, he still can't figure out why his hands get wet when he puts them under the tap.

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John 2 months, 4 weeks ago

BRAVE DAVIS seems to be SHOCKED by everything he or his party does wrong or fails to do. including the fuel hedging for BPL. The man is being shocked too much! No wonder BPL having these high electricity bills and all these power outages. No wonder

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AnObserver 2 months, 4 weeks ago

If you are going broke and don't know it, you might be bad at money management.

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Sickened 2 months, 4 weeks ago

And he's our minister of finance. Only an immoral person would put himself in charge of something he knows absolutely nothing about. His moral high ground is below sea level. Just criminal how he's spent OUR money.

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TalRussell 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Even those who strongly believe that Freepoters' --- Decided the By-election, wrong. --- Michel de Montaigne, a philosopher from the 1500s wrote, ---“Saying is a different thing from doing.”---- And Comrade Michel was right about .... The words and actions of the previous red government on money matters, got things wrong. --- However, --- The premiership of "Brave" ---Hopefully, still has the forward thinking time and money wisdom to makes it 'better' right. --- Pintard can say, anytthing. --- Words are just that, words. ---Yes?

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truetruebahamian 2 months, 4 weeks ago

He actually has no understanding and needs to have outside nonpartisan mirrors in which to reflect.

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TalRussell 2 months, 4 weeks ago

@ComradeTrueTrue, might come as a shock to know that even the colony's great finance ministers Sir Stafford Sands and Carlton Francis --- Were dependent on outside mirrors for seeing clearly how to navigate blind spots. --- Yes?

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BONEFISH 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Typical Bahamian politician .Out of touch and do not understand their portfolio. The prime minister is just like Jobeth Coleby Davis who was shocked at the conditions in West Grand Bahama..

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John 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Remember the last general election had one of the lowest voter participation in the history ofThe BaHAMAS. So whilst Brave and his new day government may have been elected by the majority of voters who voted, he was also allowed to get elected by the registered voters who didn’t vote. That last election was one where ‘your vote matters,’ or ‘make your vote count’ rang true. And even if one didn’t want to vote for any of the major parties at the time, going out and voting for an independent candidate or third party would be more effective than staying home

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Porcupine 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Yes, we can blame our PM. And, perhaps rightly so. But, who voted him into office?

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John 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Remember the last general election had one of the lowest voter participation in the history ofThe BaHAMAS. So whilst Brave and his new day government may have been elected by the majority of voters who voted, he was also allowed to get elected by the registered voters who didn’t vote. That last election was one where ‘your vote matters,’ or ‘make your vote count’ rang true. And even if one didn’t want to vote for any of the major parties at the time, going out and voting for an independent candidate or third party would be more effective than staying home Upvote0

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rosiepi 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Like hell the IMF failed to raise it with him!

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The IMF is not going to play tit for tat with out petty PM .......... what they said is probably true, and Davis has to have a comebacker because he has to save face with his peeps.

But the international community knows what kind of PM Davis is ...... a weasel

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ExposedU2C 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I just can't help but wonder how much of our national debt is attributable to the fat all over this man's body, especially his head.

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