Now we see why the Public Debt Documents (Heads 26 and 27) of the 2015/2016 Budget were stripped from the Bahamian people’s Budget. Some of that missing Debt Payment information has remarkably turned up. In 2014/2015, just over $259 MILLION was budgeted to be paid toward our public debt interest payments (formerly Head 26). IN 2015/2016, ONLY JUST OVER $266 MILLION HAS BEEN BUDGETED FOR THOSE DEBT PAYMENTS – JUST $7 MILLION MORE. Now. The government claims that between January 1 and June 30 of this year it would have already collected over $150 MILLION of our VAT dollars. For the 2015/2016 Budget, it says it expects to collect another $544 MILLION. WHY ONLY BUDGET $7 MILLION EXTRA TOWARD THESE DEBT PAYMENTS IN THE 2015/2016 BUDGET WHEN YOU CLAIM YOU WILL TAKE IN A STAGGERING $544 MILLION OF OUR MONEY IN VAT? THAT IS ONLY JUST OVER 1 (ONE) PERCENT OF OUR VAT MONEY GOING TOWARD THESE EXTRA DEBT PAYMENTS THIS BUDGET YEAR.
We were told the reason for VAT was to pay down our national debt. Head 27 is Public Debt Redemption, which means repayment on loans. That figure shows an increase of $54 million this Budget year, but there are numerous ways that Public Debt Redemption can happen, including borrowing by converting old loans to new loans at lower interest rates. The government would need to explain how it arrived at that figure, since it has stripped the Budget of the details that would enable Parliament and the public to see for ourselves.
What we can see though, is ALMOST 99% of the planned VAT money for the 2015/2016 Budget year WILL BE SPENT ON EVERYTHING OTHER THAN PAYING EXTRA DOWN ON INTEREST ON PUBLIC DEBT, with additional borrowing still being budgeted. BILLIONS have been borrowed in the past several years. As of December 31, 2014, the Central Bank put our National Debt at an historic $6.2 BILLION – skyrocketing by 11% over the previous year.