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Friday, June 09, 2006 

Economy poised for historic growth, says Prime Minister
Bahamas Information Services

NASSAU, The Bahamas---Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie said in Parliament Wednesday that the Bahamian economy is poised for what could be the “longest highest and most sustainable” economic expansion in the country’s history.
In his 2006/2007 budget communication, Prime Minister Christie said objective observers -- the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Moodys and Standard and Poors -- have confirmed the evidence of his government’s achievement and of the economic potential it is unleashing.
He said the IMF has projected economic growth rates for The Bahamas at 6.5 per cent in 2006/2007; 6.7 per cent in 2007/2008 and 5.6 per cent in 2008/2009.
The Prime Minister noted that the Bahamian currency is strong as never before because the external reserves of the Central Bank has rebounded from $312 million in 2001 to almost $600 in 2006.
He said the strength of the external reserves has permitted the Central Bank to relax exchange control, further evidence of the growing strength of the economy.
“The benefits of the our policy are apparent in the availability of employment opportunities, the expansion of essential services, without the need for additional taxation, the improvement in pay and conditions throughout the economy, the increase of over 16 per cent in the amount of residential mortgages, and the reduction of four basic points on the interest rate,” the Prime Minister said.
He added: “And even with all that, we are only at the take-off position in relation to the economy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
“Any objective observer would be bound to agree that my government team has brought the Bahamian economy fro its low point in 2001-2002, when all of these indicators were negative, to the present stage where the Bahamian economy has already reached the take-off point into what could be the longest, highest and most sustainable economic expansion in the history of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”
The Prime Minister said Moodys and Standard and Poors have continued to give investment grade ratings for The Bahamas.
He said in the case of Moodys, the rating for The Bahamas is the highest among the independent countries of the hemisphere, excluding the North American giants -- the United States and Canada.In the case of Standard and Poors, he said, the rating for The Bahamas is only equaled by one other country in the region, excluding the US and Canada.
The Prime Minister said even the IMF projects growth in 2006/2007 to be 6.5 per cent, in 2007/2008 at 6.7 per cent, and 2008/2009 at 5.6 per cent, before tapering off later.
“Thus even the International Monetary Fund agrees with the Government’s optimism about the expansion of the Bahamian economy,” he said.

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