Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie has described the Prime Minister’s two-part national address as a “misrepresentation of the facts and a manipulation of numbers” saying the previous government’s $9 billion overdraft at the Central Bank was “well within the law and below the Central Bank limit at that time.”
He said the PNM Administration has since “raised the ceiling for overdraft borrowing” and this has prompted the IMF, in its last report, to warn them about overdraft borrowing.
He was addressing the Caroni Central constituency’s 4th annual luncheon for religious leaders at Signature Hall, Longdenville, yesterday.
Tewarie spoke on the topic, “Good governance or nothing. Our country deserves it, our people have every right to demand it.”
Focusing on the Dr Keith Rowley’s national address earlier in the week, Tewarie said Rowley had attempted to give the impression that the previous PP Administration had “wasted or stolen” $29 billion.
However Tewarie said part of that money was the Central Bank overdraft of $9 billion which was supposed to have been repaid using certain facilities including the “quarterly year-end tax payments from oil companies which would have amounted to $6.5 billion.”
He said the other funds would have come from the NGL IPO, TGU funding, $500 million in dividends from the NGC and a FCB loan of $1 billion “just in case.”
“This total amount available is $13 billion, more than needed to cover the overdraft.”
He said former Finance minister Larry Howai had gone to see incoming Finance Minister Colm Imbert to explain the issue but instead the new administration had not addressed the issue until 2017.
“But today Imbert has raised the ceiling for overdraft borrowing by the government. Their current overdraft at the Central Bank is larger than ours ever was and the IMF in their last report warned them about overdraft borrowing from the Central Bank.”
He also pointed out that the PP government had only spent $59b out of the budgeted $62 billion in 2015, an election year.
Tewarie said the ruling party had instead “run this country into the ground” as the deficit is now $25 billion and could top $35 billion by 2020.
“This country has to be rescued. The decline has to be arrested. Between 2019 and 2020, this Rowley government will take us to hell so we have to rescue our country again.”