Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 6th 2015 Contents A11
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Party (ILP) leader Jack
Warner says citizens
must brace for tough
times ahead as the Peo-
ple s National Movement
Government may have budgeted in the dark.
He made the comment in response to the 2015/2016
Budget delivered by Finance Minister Colm Imbert yes-
After hearing the issues dealt with by Imbert in the
Budget, Warner said he was concerned that the previous
People s Partnership government had manipulated figures
related to the economy.
"At this point in time, the ILP is very concerned that
the PP administration sent the cash balances of the Treas-
ury down to a negative $8.5 billion, a staggering drop of
$15 billion, saddled the incoming Government with billions
of dollars in commitments and loans, abused the Central
Bank overdraft limit and manipulated figures to the point
where it will take some time to determine the true levels
of revenues and expenditure over the last five years,"
He added: "The Budget can only be assessed
as a fair effort, given that the new Government
had only one month since assuming office to
conduct a detailed situation analysis and to
attempt to fit its manifesto promises into a very
constrained economic environment."
Warner explained that the manipulation of
statistics meant that the current Government may
be budgeting to some extent in the dark.
"It also means that the public will have to wait to find
out the true state of the national accounts while the pru-
dence and judgment of the current administration is
scrutinized by John Public," he added.
He said the ILP was also concerned about the "state
of the domestic economy and the outlook, which is no
different from the position stated by Moody s Investor
Service some months ago and which was denied by the
"In these circumstances, it would be disingenuous to
expect too much from the new administration or to be
too harsh with respect to any apparent shortcomings at
"These, the ILP will reserve until the mid-year review
exercise due in March next year by which time the Gov-
ernment would have been fully settled in and would have
been able to conduct a proper survey of the country s
financial situation and the appropriate adjustments,"
He said the use of an oil price of USD$45 a barrel was
expected given the recent trends, adding: "Constraining
of the budgetary deficit to $2.8 billion is commendable.
"The minister outlined a series of tax increases, such
as the reduction in the fuel subsidy and the necessary
return of property tax, that were cushioned by decreases
in income tax and VAT, increase in pensions along with
incentives for certain sectors, such as those announced
"Given the dynamics of the current situation, it would
be interesting to see how this would play out towards
the overall goal of balancing the situation by 2018 as the
minister hopes to do," Warner said.
He also said that no costs or time frames were
announced by Imbert with regard to various infrastructure
projects and the proposals for development of industrial
"In this regard, the budget lacks sufficient detail to be
helpful to the general public in assessing how well the
Government will be able to balance its spending against
the projected revenues," he said.
He added that the mismanagement of the
economy and hiding of related information by
the previous PP administration, as well as the
bleak economic situation meant that the Dr
Keith Rowley-led administration should pri-
oritise the exercise to determine the true lia-
bilities and financial commitments on the
national purse. (RS)
PNM may have
Faced with a 15 per cent increase in
the price of super unleaded and diesel
fuel, the United Fisherfolk Association
is calling on Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley to review the proposed price
In an interview yesterday, moments
after Finance Minister Colm Imbert
announced the increases during the
2015/16 Budget, president of the asso-
ciation, Esook Ali, said the fuel hikes
coupled with the increase in business
levy taxes would trigger the collapse of
T&T s floundering fishing industry.
"I am very disheartened that they
have increased diesel and super fuel.
Now everything will go up. Fish-
ermen already seeing hell to catch
fish. How do they expect us to
survive?" Ali asked.
He added: "This is very bad
for fishermen because we already
cannot make two ends meet. They
need to discuss this with the fish-
ermen. We have to use high-powered
engines and 15 per cent increase is
too much for fishermen to bear."
He argued that the higher fuel prices
may force many fishermen to leave the
"We want Dr Rowley to look into this
because people will be unable to
operate their boats," he added.
He also said the increase in the
business levy would force busi-
ness owners to cut jobs.
"Business people are trying to
employ workers but if they have to pay
more taxes they will have no other choice
but to let staff go," Ali said.
President of the Moruga Fishing Asso-
ciation Peter Glodon also said that fish-
the high fuel
ever, he also
said a meet-
ing would be
held to dis-
badly but we
wife will feel
it worse," Glodon said.
Dhanraj Ramkissoon, from the San
Fernando Fishing Association, said he
hoped fishermen would continue to get
rebates on fuel.
"I think we have to give this a chance
and see how we make out. They told us
that we have to tighten our belts and
that is what we will have to do. We have
to give the Government a five
years and see what happens. We
have no choice," Ramkissoon
A fisherman from the Claxton
Bay Fishing Association said they
planned to write a letter to Row-
ley seeking his intervention.
high fuel hike
Links Archive October 5th 2015 October 7th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page