As Finance Minister Colm Imbert prepares to deliver perhaps the Government’s most challenging fiscal package, Caribbean economist Dr Claudius Preville says increasing taxes will only leading to a shrinking of the economy.Preville spoke at the Oropouche East Constituency virtual Pre-Budget Consultation at the Oropouche East Constituency Office in Debe. Explaining that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a function of consumption, investment, government spending and Net Trade Flows, he said that with T&T’s debt already high, there is a need to reduce its reliance of external borrowing.“If consumption is positive, people are spending money in the economy, GDP goes up. If an investment is being done, whether it is a foreign or local investment, GDP goes up. Whatever the Government spends on, the GDP goes up and if the Net Trade Flows are positive, meaning if exports exceed imports, again the GDP goes up.
“In any situation, government spending has to be done and always results in a boosting of the economy, and therefore you will have economic growth increasing.“Taxes, on the other hand, when they are imposed, what they do is reduce the demand, and they discourage domestic production, so the economy shrinks. It is a fact whether you are a PNM government or a UNC government. You cannot run away from this,” Preville said.
Moonilal predicts savage attack on worker in budget
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is predicting a “savage attack on workers” in Monday’s budget, saying that Imbert and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley already communicated this in the recently held ‘Spotlight on the Budget’ at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Moonilal suggested that from Rowley’s speech, it appears that TTEC, WASA and port workers could be on the chopping block. It is in addition to increases in water rates and electricity charges.“There will be great suffering for the working poor and greater joblessness in the labour market,” Moonilal said.Former education minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh called on the Government to reform the public health sector as the Regional Health Authority model was not working. Gopeesingh said it was a fact that for the past decade, the Government spent approximately $6 billion per year on health, yet the sector was in its worst state ever. He recommended that the Government allocate funds to upgrade half of its health centres to serve the public better as well as dedicating the various hospitals to specific fields of medicine instead of each offering the available range. In education, he said the Government was saving millions by not having to feed children at schools and transporting them. Therefore, that money can go towards providing computers for children and materials for schools. Additionally, he said the government should work with internet service providers to increase the availability of service around the country so children can get their education during the COVID-19 lockdown on schools.