FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert flatly rejected Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal’s claim that the People’s National Movement is crashing the economy by decreasing the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) by $796,297,235. Responding to Moonilal during the Standing Finance Committee meeting in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Imbert said, “There is no crash here.” He explained this decrease is based on, “our calculations that we can release this sum from that fund to cater for the various variations.” After referring to the variations being considered by the committee, Imbert said Moonilal knows the government’s development programme is funded from the Consolidated Fund and the IDF. The allocation for this year’s development programme is $5 billion and, “we had a balance on account from the IDF,” Imbert said.
Saying all MPs know the IDF is a rolling fund, Imbert explained the balance from this fund, “allowed us to take this amount out together with the projections in terms of cash flow available to us.”
He reminded the Opposition, “as you can recall, you left us with an overdraft up to the limit.” Imbert added, “So we can only spend the cash that is available to us.” Government is satisfied it has enough money to fund this year’s development programme and the IDF, “will be quite healthy from this year going to next year,” Imbert said.
The minister said the precise details of savings on projects which the Government antiipates and other information, will be provided in the Mid-Year Review today. Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis explained there is no problem in using money fromthe IDF to deal with recurrent expenditure. She said projects do not stop because of this. The meeting ended around 6.10 pm with the committee approving all proposals advanced by Government. Cabinet met yesterday at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s to discuss and approve the committee’s report.