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James Smith

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‘No way’ Bahamas can be cut to junk

There is “no way” that Moody’s can cut the Bahamas to ‘junk’ status because it is still meeting all its debt obligations as they become due, a former finance minister argued yesterday.

De-risk 'client migration' to benefit larger banks

Correspondent bank 'de-risking' could drive another wave of Bahamian financial services consolidation by sparking "client migration" to larger institutions, a former finance minister has warned.

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VAT was 'not meant to be without pain'

Value-Added Tax’s (VAT) implementation is “not meant to be without pain”, a former finance minister warned yesterday, arguing that all Bahamians had to share “the cost of repairing” the Government’s finances.

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US shutdown 'very serious' for Bahamas

The US federal government ‘shutdown’ could have “a very serious and negative effect” on the Bahamian economy, a former finance minister warned yesterday, which was unlikely to “go anywhere near” its 2013 growth projections.

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$5.119bn debt's foreign currency share 'worrying'

The Bahamas’ national debt hit $5.119 billion at end-March 2013, with a former finance minister yesterday describing the 36.6 per cent foreign currency share of this figure as “the worrying side” of the fiscal crisis.

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Balanced Budget would be 'noose around Gov't neck'

Making a ‘Balanced Budget’ a constitutional requirement would be akin to “putting a noose around your own neck” from a government perspective, a former finance minister said yesterday.

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Bahamas 'strained' to hit 2.7% growth target

The Bahamas will be “strained” to hit the Government’s and IMF’s projected 2.7 per cent GDP growth rate for 2013, a former finance minister yesterday warning this nation may never again hit the 2007-2008 heights.

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Licence fee rises 'will not break' private sector

The “marginal” Business Licence fee increases are “unlikely to be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back”, a former finance minister said yesterday, praising the 2013-2014 Budget for “hitting more than the right notes”.

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IMF's corporate tax an OECD 'Trojan Horse'

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be acting as a ‘Trojan Horse’ for the G-20/OECD in pushing for the Bahamas to implement a corporate income tax, a former finance minister has warned.

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$5bn national debtnot necessarily hit by latest bond

A former finance minister yesterday said the Government’s overdraft had come down to around $65 million, adding that its latest bond issue would not necessarily take the national debt beyond the $5 billion mark.

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Bahamas requires 5-7% GDP growth

The Bahamas needs to achieve consistent record economic growth of between 5-7 per cent over a five-six year period to absorb both its existing 30,000 unemployed workers, and school leavers, into the workforce.

IDB: Gov’t estimates Sandy costs at $703m

The Government has estimated that Hurricane Sandy caused $702.8 million worth of damage when it struck the Bahamas last October, although one former finance minister said the figure seemed “extremely high”.

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Moody`s `warning` Bahamas: Look again at fiscal targets

The Bahamas has received a “warning” from Wall Street that it may need to look at its fiscal projections again, a former finance minister adding that until the Mid-Year Budget the “jury is still out” on the Christie administration’s plans.

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Ex-finance minister: Auto industry taxes ‘too high’

Excise Tax revenues from the auto industry are down because the rates are too high, a former finance minister believes, as he questioned whether the Bahamas is ready to endure “the pain” of fiscal adjustment.

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Ex-minister urges 'top up' approach on fiscal problems

A FORMER finance minister has questioned whether the Bahamas truly recognises it has “a very serious problem” in the Government’s fiscal position, and called for a “top up” approach to reining in excessive spending.

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FATCA 'not a death blow'

The US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and similar initiatives are “not a death blow or beginning of the end” for the Bahamian financial services industry, a former finance minister said yesterday, although the sector’s near-term growth will continue to be modest.

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Gov't deficit rises 50% in early 2012-13

The Government’s deficit grew by 49.5 per cent to hit $81.6 million for the first two months of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, a key Ministry of Finance adviser saying the “unwelcome” trend of spending growing faster than revenues remained.

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Ex-finance minister urges Gov't way to FATCA compliance

THE Bahamas should look at signing an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to comply with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), a former finance minister said yesterday.

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Government's revenue forecasts off up to 16%

The Government’s revenue estimates were off by as much as 16 per cent at the recession’s peak, a key Ministry of Finance adviser yesterday describing this as creating “a very serious problem” that at one point blew the primary deficit up to $640 million.

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Treat S&P warning like ‘approaching hurricane’

The Bahamas’ fiscal woes are in danger of becoming “a real millstone around the nation’s neck”, a key Ministry of Finance consultant has said, adding that Wall Street’s alarm bells should be treated “as seriously as an approaching hurricane”.

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Bahamas still suffering ‘negative’ real growth

The Bahamian economy is still contracting in real terms, a key Ministry of Finance adviser said yesterday, adding that the Government’s Air Fare Credit policy was “unsustainable” and had failed to generate compensating returns.

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'Flawed' BTC process means no FDI impact

Foreign investors are unlikely to be deterred by the Government’s efforts to renegotiate the Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s (BTC) privatisation because the sales process was “flawed”, a former finance minister told Tribune Business yesterday.

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Key Government adviser: Bill's 'fundamental contract challenge'

A key Ministry of Finance adviser yesterday said the draft Borrowers Protection Bill “challenges some very fundamental and long-held concepts” relating to the sanctity of private contracts, adding his voice to those urging that the legislation be heavily modified before going to Parliament.

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Gov't short-term credit 'maxed out'

The Government’s $4.416 billion national debt is “likely to get worse before its gets better”, a key Ministry of Finance adviser telling Tribune Business that key short-term financing facilities have been “maxed out”.

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Debt 'pushing Bahamas' deeper into Third World

THE Bahamas has "pushed ourselves further into" the ranks of 'Third World' nations via the rapid rise in the national debt, with an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report warning this nation's 57.6 per cent debt-to-GDP ratio has passed the threshold at which it will act as "a drag" on its economic growth.

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Stimulus spending would 'never work'

SO-CALLED 'stimulus spending' "never works" in an economy like the Bahamas because it only succeeds in "running down" the all-important foreign exchange reserves, a former finance minister has told Tribune Business.

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Bahamas 'hamstrung for several years' by fiscal weaknesses

THE Government's current fiscal position has "hamstrung the country for several years", a key Ministry of Finance consultant warned yesterday, with recovery almost entirely dependent on how the world economy - and key source markets - perform between now and 2015.

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Adviser: Gov't must 'move' to run recurrent surpluses

The 128 per cent increase in the Bahamas' national debt over the past decade means the Government must "address without delay" its ever-growing fiscal deficit

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Implement VAT as 'matter of urgency'

THE Bahamas needs to be "well on its way within the next two years" to implementing a VAT/sales tax regime, the Ministry of Finance's leading consultant said yesterday, adding that this nation's tax revenues - as a percentage of GDP - were 10 points below the Western Hemisphere average.

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3-4% deficits are'becoming norm'

A former finance minister yesterday warned that fiscal deficits equivalent to 3-4 per cent of gross domestic product were "becoming the norm", after the Central Bank of the Bahamas revealed that it widened by $45.2 million or 27.6 per cent during the first eight months of the 2011-2012 Budget year.


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