NASSAU, BAHAMAS — East Grand Bahama MP and Opposition Shadow Finance Minister Kwasi Thompson says that the rise in government revenue has not translated right into a higher life for Bahamians, adding that the revenue increase comes as no surprise.
Thompson said: “It’s to be expected and no surprise that the country’s revenue has had a major increase. The economy was recovering under the last FNM administration and we saw a major increase in revenues prior to the change in Government.
The rise in revenue is to be expected because the 12 months prior we were in the midst of COVID and still recovering from Hurricane Dorian. Our economy is now open, and our tourism performance has significantly improved.”
Still, Thompson noted that the Opposition is incredibly concerned that the rise in revenue has not translated to improved circumstances for Bahamians.
“Bahamians proceed to struggle with high prices, high inflation, high energy costs, high food prices, and a high crime rate. Life is just not higher for many Bahamians. While we see a rise in taxes collected from Bahamians we don’t see a corresponding increase in assistance and relief particularly for islands still recovering like Grand Bahama and Abaco.”
The Government exceeded its revised revenue goal for the fiscal 12 months 2021/2022 by nearly $270 million, with revenue collections in the course of the period totaling just over $2.6 billion, in keeping with the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance in its 12 months fiscal snapshot for the fiscal 12 months 2021/2022 noted that despite contractions in global growth, The Bahamian economy maintained a gradual pace of recovery, supported by rebounding tourist arrivals.
In response to the Ministry of Finance, revenue collections in the course of the fiscal 12 months 2021/2022 totaled $2,608.6 million, a rise of $700.7 million over the prior fiscal 12 months and 111.5 percent of the revised budget goal.
Thompson also blasted the federal government’s increased spend on travel and subsistence, which happened to exceed the budgeted amount by 11.1 percent.
“It was also very concerning that the Government spent $34.8 million less on Small Business assistance. Unfortunately, small businesses proceed to struggle as they’ve not received significant help in the course of the inflation crisis, and lots of proceed to struggle to survive.
“The federal government shouldn’t take a victory lap as most Bahamians are still struggling to survive the inflation crisis,” said Thompson.