Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
FINANCE Minister Peter Turnquest has dismissed reports of the government running out of money as false while stressing the Bahamian dollar is not facing a devaluation threat.
Yesterday, a statement from Mr Turnquest insisted measures are being taken to ensure the finances of the country and preserve the integrity of the Bahamian dollar.
The statement read: “Our economy has not survived and thrived for so long because of good fortune. As a country, we have historically taken a very prudent approach to fiscal and monetary policy to protect ourselves in situations like the emergency we face today.
“The country’s foreign reserves are managed by the capable hands of the Bahamian professionals at the Central Bank of the Bahamas. The Central Bank has an exemplary record that should instill confidence in every Bahamian. Since the COVID-19 crisis, the Central Bank has taken several preemptive steps to shore up our reserves, and they will continue to take necessary action as needed.
“I echo the Central Bank’s statement today, indicating that monetary policies have already taken into consideration vital local needs, and any reports of devaluation threats are entirely misleading and without merit.
“The government will continue to take the necessary steps to stabilise the economy and support the Central Bank in its mandate to preserve the integrity of the Bahamian dollar,” Mr Turnquest said.
This comes after The Punch reported on its front page yesterday that “the government was set to run out” of cash by November and “spark a devaluation of the B$” due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic fallout.
Yesterday, Central Bank Governor John Rolle also hit out at the report on social media.
In one of two tweets, he wrote: “Contrary to the misleading report by @bahamaspunch 50 percent of our demand liabilities determine the legal floor on (external) reserves. These move in close sync with reserves (because) they fund the balances. The B$ is not facing devaluation threats. Policies already anticipate vital local needs.”
The government announced on Sunday it has applied for a $252m International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. Mr Turnquest explained the request was not a sign of the country dealing with the “worst case scenario” post COVID-19 but The Bahamas merely “taking advantage of attractive borrowing facilities”.