Budget surplus by 2023-24, predicts finance minister
Bermuda is on a “glide path” to a small budget surplus by 2023-24, the finance minister said yesterday.
Curtis Dickinson added the country’s last round of borrowing was calculated to last until that financial year.
Mr Dickinson said: “We have borrowed as much as I am prepared to borrow at this point.
“Our strategy is to make sure we live within our means.”
Mr Dickinson added it was vital for the Government to follow through on its budget projections.
He said: “Next year, we have $450 million in debt that’s mature and in the year following we have another $450 million.
“It’s important for me and for the country that we hit our numbers because next November I will be going out to the markets to seek to refinance the debt that is maturing in December of 2022 and January of 2023.”
He said lenders would want to see the Government hit its targets.
Mr Dickinson added: “We said we would have a budget deficit last year of about $275 million.
“We came in closer to $240 to $250 million.
The Government has spent about $10 million this year on unemployment benefits for people put out of work by Covid-19.
Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, said the main unemployment benefits programme had expired with “$60-plus million” given out to support thousands left without work last year.
But a supplementary benefit has continued, along with a quarantine benefit for people required by health officials to leave work for mandatory quarantine.
“Our plan for this year is a budget deficit of about $124.7 million.
“Next year it is $42 to $43 million, and in 2023-24 we are projecting a modest surplus.”
Mr Dickinson also backed predictions of a tourism return to pre-pandemic levels by 23-24.
He said it was “not unlikely” that the Fairmont Southampton, the island’s largest hotel, would have reopened by then.