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Richards unveils fiscal report

The first annual fiscal responsibility assessment for Bermuda was tabled in the House of Assembly this morning by Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance.

The report was compiled by an independent panel after discussions last month. The three-person panel was put together by the ministry in consultation with the Bermuda Monetary Authority, and its findings have been issued in electronic form to Members of Parliament.

The panel reviewed the fiscal progress of the Government on public spending, taxation, borrowing and debt reduction, with the aim of increasing transparency and international credibility, Mr Richards said. It will continue to meet on an annual basis.

“The panel had meetings with various institutions and individuals during the course of its discussions during the period November 23 to 27,” Mr Richards said.

“The panel heard views about Bermuda's economic prospects and risks to those prospects, and challenges in the short, medium and long term; the Government's plans to achieve budget balance by 2018-19 and the desirable speed of progress toward meeting its long term debt targets, and the desirable and feasible balance between expenditure and revenue measures, and preferred options for both.”

The panel was chaired by David Peretz, with assistance from Peter Heller and Jonathan Portes.

Progress on fiscal consolidation so far has been “cautious and incremental”, the report states.

The present level of government debt, with “very large” potential liabilities from government guarantees and underfunded public pension and health insurance schemes, risks turning the possible impact from any one of these into “a serious setback for the Island's economy”.

• Full report attached

Bob Richards, Minister of Finance

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Published December 11, 2015 at 10:41 am (Updated December 11, 2015 at 11:21 am)

Richards unveils fiscal report

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