FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert said 18,000 citizens have lost jobs since 2015 and not 30,000 as Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar had claimed.
He was winding up debate on the 2018/2019 national budget in Parliament yesterday.
He said Persad-Bissessar tried to attack the figures in his budget presentation.
“But the figures were produced by the Central Statistical Office not by me. That is the data.”
He recalled Persad-Bissessar said 30,000 lost jobs since 2015 while Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoe Tewarie said 55,000 people.
“So whether the number is 30,000 or 55,000, both wrong.”
Imbert said if Opposition members would take time to read the Review of the Economy at appendix 11 it shows population, labour force and employment back to 2012. He said in 2015 there were 623,000 people employed and there are now 605,000 which is an 18,000 decrease. He added the methodology has not changed and was the same in 2011.
“They just love to say these things. By next year they will say is 100,000.”
Persad-Bissessar had criticised Imbert for saying in the budget that most vehicles use diesel following the announcement of the increase in Super gasoline. She said the majority of vehicles use Super and therefore the effect of the increase would be widespread.
Imbert in response said Opposition members do not read or do not understand what they read and his statement about vehicles using diesel was in reference to goods vehicles that transport food and materials and public transport vehicles such as maxi taxis. He said there are 207,000 goods vehicles on the road and he believes about 200,000 use diesel.