Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 12th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Saturday, December 12, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
For breaking news, call 225-4465 Exts 2032, 2033, 2004 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Government has no money
to pay public servants their arrears
in salaries and backpay resulting
from wage negotiations settled by
the last People s Partnership
administration, Finance Minister
Colm Imbert admitted yesterday.
Imbert made the statement while
speaking on a government motion
on the Exemption from Import
Duties of Custom in Parliament.
Blaming the last PP administration
for maxing out the overdraft at the
Central Bank and leaving the Peo-
ple's National Movement (PNM)
Government with a severe cash flow
problem, Imbert said there was sim-
ply insufficient money to pay the
outstanding money owed.
He said public servants, among
them members of the health sector
and protective services, were owed
"billions and billions of dollars."
Imbert gave the assurance, how-
ever, that public servants, who were
hoping for their arrears in time for
the Christmas season, would get
this month's salary by December 18.
He also promised that he intended
to raise the money, an estimated $5
billion, to pay them via special bond
issues and said he had met with
commercial banks yesterday to start
Imbert said he would do all he
could to ensure the outstanding
salaries were paid at the earliest
opportunity in 2016.
Asked by former planning minister
Dr Bhoe Tewarie if the Government
did not receive $12 million from a
revenue stream left by his former
government, Imbert said that was
a figment of his imagination.
"I have heard references to alleged
revenue streams but the paperwork
was never done. No arrangements
were made for these revenue
"They were figments of your
imagination," Imbert shot back at
Imbert insisted, despite charges
by the Opposition to the contrary,
that "this Government is managing
our fiscal finances in a prudent man-
ner." However, the Government has
recently been confronted with a
hitherto unseen cash flow problem,
He said a government's expendi-
ture in a typical month was usually
around $3 billion, but in October
this amounted to $3.2 billion. In
September, on the other hand, he
said, it shot up to $8.5 billion when
it should have been no more than
$3 to $4 billion. Combined expen-
diture over those two months
totalled close to $13 billion, he said.
Imbert said the last government's
mad rush to settle payments to con-
tractors and suppliers before the end
of the fiscal year on September 30
caused this unusual pattern.
He said the Central Bank's over-
draft was mismanaged and because
of this other funds could not be
accessed until it was brought back
to a normal level. And this was why
the Government had no money at
this time to pay public servants their
arrears and backpay, he said.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
says a claim by Central Bank Gov-
ernor Jwala Rambarran that T&T
is in a recession is now very con-
tentious because there is no sup-
Rowley made the comment while
responding to questions to the Prime
Minister in the House of Represen-
Couva South MP Rudranath
Indarsingh had asked Rowley if he
agreed that the country was in a
But Rowley responded with a
"Agree with whom?" he asked
and took his seat.
Indarsingh persisted, saying the
question was based on statements
by Rambarran and Independent Sen-
ator Dhanayshar Mahabir.
Rambarran said last Friday that
the country had experienced four
quarters of negative growth and con-
sequently was in official recession.
Mahabir made his statement on the
recession in the Senate this week.
Rowley proceeded to explain what
determines a recession.
He said to the best of the gov-
ernment's knowledge, it was deter-
mined "when two consecutive peri-
ods of decline have been observed
by those who monitor the perform-
ance of the economy."
He said as far as he was aware,
the country was still in the last quar-
ter of 2015.
He added, "That quarter cannot
form any basis for determining what
happens with recession in the coun-
try. So, therefore, it must refer to
the two previous quarters and earlier.
"If in fact we were in recession in
those two quarters, we would have
expected to have heard that from
Rowley said the fourth quarter of
this year began in October and con-
cludes at the end of December.
"We also do not know the source
of the data to which he (Rambarran)
is referring," Rowley said.
Rowley said the quarters of decline
prior to October "would have been
known from statistical data accept-
able and believable to determine
whether or not T&T is in recession."
He said it was former government
officials "who failed to tell this coun-
try that we have been in recession
and decline during their term."
Opposition MP for Tabaquite,
Surujrattan Rambachan, then asked
the Prime Minister if his Government
had received any official data from
the Central Statistical Office (CSO)
or the Central Bank on the recession.
Rowley said his Government had
received no data. He said he was
also not aware that the CSO, the
agency that compiles the perform-
ance statistics of the country, has
made any documentation available.
"That is why this issue is so con-
tentious, because the basis for pro-
moting it is quite questionable," he
Rowley said his Government did
not have any problem in acknowl-
edging "if the data does show that
the economy has not grown or has
remained stagnant over the last three
months or so.
"What we do have a difficulty
with is arbitrary, spurious data being
used to determine the performance
of the economy," he said.
Rowley also denied his Govern-
ment was seeking to hound Ram-
barran out of office.
"If there is any person taking
action which would result in the ter-
mination of the employment of the
Governor of the Central Bank, that
person is not the Government," he
said, in response to a question by
Rambachan that Finance Minister
Colm Imbert and Rambarran were
in a war.
Later, Chief Whip Ganga Singh
made an unsuccessful attempt to
have the Parliament debate as a mat-
ter of urgent public importance the
controversy over Rambarran's state-
Singh, in presenting the motion,
said the Government was using
Rambarran's disclosure on foreign
exchange recipients to divert public
attention away from the "calamitous
social and economic impact of the
mass job losses in the public and
private sector over the past two
According to Singh, while that
was happening the "Government
has manipulated public attention
away from this most serious state
of affairs, primarily by escalating its
vendetta against the independent
office of the Governor of the Central
Deputy Speaker Esmond Forde
said the matter did not qualify.
Imbert hopes to pay arrears in 2016
Special bond to raise funds
No data showing T&T in recession---Rowley
Members of the government bench during yesterday's sitting of the Lower House at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain. From right,
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
Links Archive December 11th 2015 December 13th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page