We know and have seen that the country’s finances are in a mess. Constitutional and forensic audits are to be done, the results of which are not yet known. Assessing our true financial state would undoubtedly take time. The first Budget of the new administration will be critical for our country and for our standing with international ratings agencies. To put itself on the best foot forward in the most critical task of managing our finances going forward, formulating a Budget that comes closest to working in line with our true financial realities once all or sufficient facts are known is the ideal.
In its most recent Quarterly Report, the Central Bank of The Bahamas put our Debt to GDP ratio at 77.9% (well above the IMF’s stated danger threshold) and the Central Bank’s most recent Monthly Report put our Recurrent Deficit at $295.3 million. The Financial Administration and Audit Act enables the government to give itself extended time to make all the financial assessments it may require. Section 14 of the Act enables the Minister of Finance to bring a Resolution to Parliament, to continue to carry on the business of the government via the Consolidated Fund after the end of the current Budget Year for a period not exceeding four (4) months. If utilized, this provision can give the government room to continue to run the country while it takes the time to get as deeply as it needs to into knowing where all the bones are buried and knowing what we have, do not have and truly owe, before formulating and seeking passage of a Budget that would need to be based on the truth, accuracy and precision of such information.