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Vasant Bharath

With weeks to go before the 2021 budget is presented, former Trade and Industry Minister Vasant Bharath says the Finance Minister needs to be honest with the population about the true cost of the COVID-19 pandemic on T&T.

Speaking on CNC3’s the Morning Brew, Bharath said for the country to move forward as a collective, the failings of the government to diversify and boost the economy during their first term in office from 2015 to 2020 must be “put behind us.”

“The minister needs to be honest with the population, everyone knows what is going on, there needs to be a level of honesty with the ministry between now and the budget or on budget day with regard to a number of business closures, the number of people who have become jobless, the number of grants and loans that have been given out, the amount of VAT that was paid out or was promised to be paid out. There needs to be a level of honesty as we go forward as we put what has happened in the past behind us but move on as one collective organisation, being T&T into the future,” he said.

Bharath estimates that the budget could see an estimated expenditure of about $60 billion.