09/17/2013 12:06 EDT | Updated 11/17/2013 05:12 EST

Nova Scotia Liberals and NDP spar over Royal Bank study on economic growth

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's Liberals say a Royal Bank economic study on the province's economy this year is evidence that the New Democrats are poor fiscal stewards, but Premier Darrell Dexter says the report's forecast for next year solidifies his position that it will take time for job growth.

The study released Tuesday says Nova Scotia's rate of growth for this year will be 1.2 per cent, tied with Prince Edward Island for the second-lowest in the country. The report blames a delay in the Deep Panuke offshore natural gas project and a sluggish economy for the low growth rate.

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil says he believes the report is further proof that the NDP government's forecast of a surplus for this fiscal year is unfounded

"The Dexter NDP has made desperate attempts to convince Nova Scotians that the budget is balanced, but more and more evidence continues to prove that the NDP math is baseless," McNeil said in a statement.

"RBC's report is another indication that the Dexter NDP has failed our province, our workers and our businesses."

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said the NDP isn't properly managing the economy and the Liberals offer more of the same approach.

"Only the Progressive Conservative party has a plan to turn around our sluggish economy by lowering taxes, freezing power rates, stopping wasteful spending and creating more jobs," he said in a statement.

But Dexter said the report's prediction of a 2.3 per cent increase in economic growth for next year confirms his position that it will take time for Nova Scotia to create jobs in areas such as construction, technology and shipbuilding.

"In the medium term, the economic growth of this province will move out of the bottom where it's been for the past 20 years and into the middle of the pack," he said.

"It's like anything. If you're going to build and change anything in the province, it's not a short-term project."