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Hurricane Dorian Extraordinary, Unexpected Fiscal Impact causes Bahamas Govt to present Supplementary Budget

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#NASSAU, Bahamas — January 30, 2020 — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest explained that the Government is presenting the extraordinary and unexpected fiscal impact of Hurricane Dorian as a Supplementary Budget, so that the Bahamian people are made fully aware of exactly how the Government intends to address the challenges which have emerged.

As he presented the Supplementary Budget Statement in the House of Assembly, Wednesday, January 29, 2020, DPM Turnquest stated that the supplementary appropriations outline both the expected revenue losses arising from the Hurricane together with the increases in the recurrent and capital expenditure allocations necessary to deal with the emerging restoration and rebuilding activities on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Peter Turquest, Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance

“The Supplementary Budget Book provided to this Honourable House presents the expected revenue loss for this fiscal year, by the respective revenue categories, which underlay the adjusted revenue budget for FY2019/20; it details the additional capital and recurrent expenditure arising from Hurricane Dorian, as well as several other policy imperatives.  As these impacts are multi-year, the medium-term forecasts have been extended by one year and revised through to FY2022/23.”

He noted that in circumstances like this facing substantial revenue loss and significant new expenditure requirements, governments are compelled either to raise additional funds through greater taxation – or through increased borrowing in the near term.   “The Government has determined that additional taxes would not be optimal at this time, given the substantial impact of Dorian to our economy and the need to maintain private consumption levels.   Accordingly—and very conscientiously—the government has decided to fund the revenue loss and expenditure requirements through additional borrowings. 

“Thus, I am also tabling a new borrowing resolution for authorization to borrow beyond the $72.4 million (which excludes the $628.0 million for refinancing of maturing debt) approved at the time of the 2019/20 Budget Communication in May of last year.”

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He said, “As I mentioned during the tabling of the 2019 Fiscal Strategy Report in November, we anticipate that total revenue for FY2019/20 will now be reduced by $232.6 million, due to revenue losses and revenue foregone from VAT, Business Licence fees, Customs, and a number of other taxes in the Hurricane-affected islands.”

DPM Turnquest stated that it is important to remind the House that given the magnitude of the impact of Dorian on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, the Government unveiled an unprecedented package of tax incentives and concessions as a key part of the establishment of the Special Economic Recovery Zone (SERZ).  I know that members opposite agree—like all Bahamians—that this was and is the right thing to do.  

“However the impact of those much needed tax concessions for those island mean that over $200 million in tax revenues is being deliberately and consciously foregone.  This is being done so that the government is doing as much as it reasonably can to aid the speedy recovery and restoration of those impacted communities. 

“Thus, at year-end, we project a revised aggregate revenue of some $2,395.6 million in FY2019/20, as opposed to the $2,628.2 estimated at the time of the annual budget exercise.”

He added that given the total incremental spending that the Government will have to undertake to initiate rebuilding and restoration efforts, we anticipate that total expenditure will increase to $3,073.1 million for FY2019/20, in comparison to the $2,765.0 initially budgeted and approved. 

Abaco post Hurricane Dorian

The DPM explained that recurrent expenses are projected to be higher by $157.6 million, bringing the revised estimates to $2,687.6 million.  Of this total, approximately $82.7 million is associated with Hurricane Dorian, which include:

  • $23.1 million in costs associated with clean-up activities,
  • $12.9 million to facilitate food and accommodation assistance programmes,
  • $11.4 million to fund the extension of the unemployment benefit to eligible persons,
  • $11.1 million in allowances for affected public staff,
  • $5.4 million for the acquisition of supplies and materials,
  • a $1.5 million allocation to the new Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, and,
  • the remaining $17.3 million allocated to primarily cover contingencies, consultancy services, security and other costs.

He said, “This spending has and will facilitate a number of social assistance measures on the Government’s part.  For example, the Government has aided with rental assistance to evacuees from both Grand Bahama and Abaco, provided accommodations to hurricane victims by way of shelters, food assistance to victims outside of the shelters, and has also extended its national lunch benefit to displaced students that relocated to schools in New Providence. In addition, the Government is seeking to expand the National Insurance Board (NIB) unemployment benefit to 26 weeks from 13 weeks to eligible persons that have been impacted by the storm.”

BIS STORY By Llonella Gilbert

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Bahamas News

$36 Million Dollar Upgrade for World Athletics Relays in Nassau, Bahamas

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

After years of thorough maintenance, The Thomas A Robinson National Stadium in The Bahamas is finally getting a multi-million dollar makeover, readying the 10 year old facility ahead of the World Athletics Relays on May  5, 2024; it is being staged in Nassau for the fourth time. 

 

This $36 million refurbishment is being funded by the Chinese Government, as part of a vision to enhance the country’s sport infrastructure to benefit youths in athletics. The stadium was gifted to The Bahamas in 2012 by the Chinese.

 

The relay is the qualifying event for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games and there will be 32 national teams, in each relay event, and 20 races on both days of competition, according to World Athletics. 

Day 1, will have 20 heats across the five olympic events (4 heats each for 4×100, 4×400, men, women and mixed) and will qualify 40 teams for the Summer Olympics.  The top two teams from each heat will directly qualify for the Games.

On day 2, 30 more national teams will be qualified through 15 repechage heats and five finals, across those five events.

 

The upgrades which include new trusses, rooftops, seats, the lawn, score boards, LED displays and more, are expected to be complete at least two weeks before the relays, being held under the theme: ‘Chase the  Sun’. 

 

In a special ceremony on Monday April 8, The Bahamas Prime Minister, Philip Davis said:

 

In December 2023, our shared vision took shape, as the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and the government of the People’s Republic of China, inked an implementation agreement for the renovation of the stadium. This gesture of goodwill and friendship, from the Chinese government to undertake the China Aid Maintenance and Renovation project of our national stadium, stands as a testament to the strong bonds that unite our countries. This project, executed by China Urban Construction Research Institute Company Limited, and the China Machinery Industry Construction Group Company Limited, reflects our shared commitment to excellence, innovation and mutual development.”

 

Additionally, H.E Dai Qingli, outgoing Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas who also attended that ceremony, spoke. 

 

“At the end of the project, the Bahamian people will get a fully renewed and modern world class stadium because everything is going to be either renewed or repaired,” she said.

Some 1600 athletes will be in The Bahamas for the World Athletics relays, with five events.  The Bahamas won the bid over Lausanne, Rome in 2022.

 

 Mario Bowleg,  Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture in reports, thanked China for their contribution to the redevelopment of the stadium. 

 

“We thank them for their commitment to ensuring that they bring this facility back up to A1 standard so that we can continue holding international events and using these facilities as a development of our young people.”

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Bahamas News

Grand Bahama Airport Demolition

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BIS Photo: Lisa Davis

Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

TheBahamas#TheGrandBahamaAirportDemolition, April 10, 2024 – The demolition of the Grand Bahama International Airport has begun, to start transformative construction as previously announced by Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Aviation and Investments, Chester Cooper, last month. Cooper says a new state of the art facility will be created to redefine Grand Bahama’s access to global opportunities and meet international standards.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bahamas News

Saxons Brass Section Thanks CWCO for Continued Commitment

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS (April 9th, 2024) Behind the vibrant costumes and electrifying beats of Junkanoo parades are committed members, mentors, and supporters such as Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. (CWCO). In a heartfelt acknowledgment of years of generous support, the Saxons Superstars’ brass section, High Voltage Brass, recently visited the water supplier to present a plaque of appreciation.

Jeremy Adderley, speaking on behalf of High Voltage Brass, said, “Without CWCO’s support, we would not have had the brass costumes needed to compete and secure our two-straight victory. Their support also helps us as we plan lessons for our young members to enhance their musicianship skills, not just for Junkanoo but for college and beyond.”

Adderley highlighted that the plaque is a token of High Voltage Brass’ immense gratitude for CWCO helping the Saxons Superstars keep culture alive and for being a steadfast partner in developing future leaders.

He added, “Every year, it is a struggle to make it to Bay Street. Many of our members are eager to participate, despite their circumstances, and every year our group continues to grow. Thanks to CWCO’s generosity, we look forward to continuing to grow and succeed alongside their great team and establishment.”

Henderson Cash, CWCO’s General Manager, said, “Receiving this plaque from the Saxons Superstars is a profound honor for us at CWCO. It symbolizes the strong relationship we’ve built over the years, rooted in mutual respect and a shared commitment to preserving Bahamian heritage.

“Our support for the Saxons Superstars’ brass section is emblematic of our broader mission to invest in our community’s vibrancy and the potential of its young people. We are deeply committed to continuing this support and fostering the traditions that make our culture so unique.”

 

Photo Caption: The Saxons Superstars’ brass section, High Voltage Brass, recently visited Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. (CWCO) to present a plaque of appreciation.

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