Given the unique health crisis and economic situation we are now facing, it is not useful to simply refresh and amend the contextual and comparative discussions typically found here in past updates for this Goal.
The key points to note at this time are that:
• As recently as the summer of 2019, the Province’s projections showed steady annual declines with a trendline that would lead to the goal of a 30% net debt to GDP ratio by 2024 being reached.
• The 2020-21 Budget introduced in February 2020 changed course with the ratio projected to increase each year from 2020-21 through 2023-24. In response to questions from the press about the Budget, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board stated, “Let me be clear – that 30% wasn’t our government’s goal.” Thus, even absent the COVID-19 crisis, achieving the 30% figure by 2024 would seem unlikely as it is not a policy goal of the Government.
• The COVID-19 impacts on both economic growth and provincial finances will cause a significant increase in the net debt to GDP ratio The Forecast Update of July 2020 revises the 2020-21 figure from 33.3% to 38.7. No revisions for years beyond 2020-21 have been provided yet.
• The status for this Goal must change to Not progressing
CHANGES TO THE INDICATOR, BASELINE, OR TARGET:
- The headline indicator was changed to the figure reported annually in the Nova Scotia Public accounts. The 2012-13 baseline figure was amended due to revisions in historical nominal GDP data. Other figures have been updated due to the availability of new data.