Sir William Allen
Minister of Finance

*”It is once again a great source of pride and accomplishment that this government has been able to present a balanced budget which adequately meets the needs of the public service without resorting to any new taxes or any increases in existing taxes”*, said Sir William Allen, Minister of Finance, as he presented the 2001/2002 Budget Communication to the House of Assembly on Wednesday, May 30. It is the Government’s hope that an overall fiscal balance will be a benchmark for the future.

The Bahamas economy enjoyed a $44 million surplus in 2000/2001, with an overall balance achieved.

Education and health care have been targeted for the largest allocations in the new Budget, at 24% and 18% respectively, followed by National Security and Tourism.

In presenting his Budget Communication, Sir William Allen took the opportunity to reiterateThe Bahamas’ deep commitment to the integrity of the international financial system, and said the nation will continue to support the international community’s abhorrence of abuse of the system through criminal money laundering and to cooperate fully with global measures to ensure a sound international financial system. The Minister was referencing various supranational initiatives introduced over the last two years, and indicated further that The Bahamas – sharing the experience of many countries — was required to implement changes to its administrative and regulatory structures to address concerns relating to anti-money laundering and banking supervision.

With particular regard to the OECD’s harmful tax initiative, the Minister expressed hopes that the emergence of divergent views within that organisation will result in reflection and perhaps a more focused approach to other OECD concerns which have greater legitimacy than harmful tax competition — and which would elicit greater international co-operation on a voluntary basis.

Minister Allen also took the opportunity to comment on the Bahamas’ long and honourable record of contributing to the work of international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. In fact, The Bahamas is among those countries, which contribute to the International Development Agency (IDA), the soft loans subsidiary of the World Bank.

(Full 2001-2002 Budget Communication is available on the www site of The Bahamas Compliance Commission. See link below)