Prime Minister Davis’ Remarks on the Fiscal Strategy Report

Madam Speaker,

It gives me great pleasure to rise in this Honourable House in my capacity as the Minister of Finance, to table two of the most significant policy documents in the Government’s fiscal calendar:

  • The 2022 Fiscal Strategy; and
  • The FY2023/24 –  FY2025/26 Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy.

Together, these documents articulate the specific policies and strategies of this administration which are restoring the country’s fiscal health, as promised in the “Speech From the Throne” and the “Blueprint for Change” outlining our agenda.

Madam Speaker, 

I would like to begin my communication with an overview of the 2022 Fiscal Strategy Report.

This report outlines the Government’s plans to achieve specific fiscal targets. These targets include:

  • An improvement in Government revenue yield to more than 24 percent of GDP by fiscal year 2024/25;
  • A measured reduction in Government expenditure to less than 23 percent of GDP by fiscal year 2024/25; and, as a result of these measures,
  • Achievement of a budget surplus by fiscal year 2024/25.

Madam Speaker, 

In accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2018, the Fiscal Strategy Report is to be tabled in Parliament on the third Wednesday of November of each year. While in opposition, and since coming to office as the Government, we have articulated on multiple occasions the fundamental flaws in the FRA — including this very same timeline.

During the fiscal year 2022/23, the FRA would have required Government to table its Fiscal Strategy report in Parliament on 16 November 2022. This date, Madam Speaker, was simply not feasible, for at this time The Bahamas was in the middle of its  S&P bi-annual credit rating review. Tabling such a document would have interfered with the independent review process. 

Madam Speaker,

I would like to point out to this Honourable House that the results of the S&P review were not released until 22 November 2022. This event was very significant for our country as for the first time in almost a decade, positive signs were observed in The Bahamas’ credit rating.

While the S&P rating did not provide an improved credit rating for The Bahamas, it did provide for an improvement in the credit outlook from negative to stable.

I point this out to emphasize that this constitutes a reversal of the country’s deteriorating credit position.

Our plans to restore the country’s fiscal health are working!

Madam Speaker, 

Given the significance of this report and its implications for the Government’s fiscal policies, projections and debt sustainability, the 2022 Fiscal Strategy Report and Debt Management Strategy were deferred to allow for inclusion of this significant outcome in our projections, policies and strategy.

Madam Speaker, 

In tandem with the most recent Fiscal Strategy Report is the release of the updated Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy. This document also benefits from the country’s rebounding credit profile, which is reflected in factors such as interest rates, access to financing and the overall financing plan. 

Madam Speaker,

As a result of this analysis, the general outlook is that fiscal plans implemented by this administration since coming to office are already bearing fruit.

As a result, the public can expect:

  • the achievement of a budget surplus by FY2024/25; and
  • a decline in the debt to GDP ratio to 67.1 percent by FY2026/27.

Madam Speaker,

The comments that I make today about our nation’s fiscal health echo those of reputable international financial institutions and economists, who have performed advanced reviews of the draft documents. 

It is widely believed that the most recent FSR is the most comprehensive and clearly articulated strategy the country has ever produced.

And these are not just technical achievements — they represent real progress for The Bahamas, progress that Bahamians are going to feel.

Progress on our fiscal goals supports our efforts to build a diversified economy, one that will generate more inclusive opportunities and prosperity.

Progress on fiscal goals means progress for people

Madam Speaker, we have always been clear-eyed about the scale of the challenges we face, but also confident that we have what it takes to chart a new course forward.

May God Bless Us, and Speed Us on Our Way.