TABAQUITE MP Dr Surujrattan Rambachan, weighing in on the budget over the weekend, said he hoped the budget which was presented yesterday, would address promoting economic activity away from the energy sector.
“The economy is lethargic, investments by businesses which must create sustainable jobs are very slow in coming as investor confidence in the short to medium term continues to be low.”
Rambachan said this is evidenced by the fact that businesses are borrowing less and consumers are borrowing to consolidate and / or refinance debts, quoting the latest Central Bank bulletin. “It would appear that the job losses, as well as, the fear of losing one’s job have created a further dampening effect on the economy.
“In the budget to be presented, the Finance Minister must demonstrate how the government is going to expand economic activity outside energy.” He said Imbert must also stay how government intends to put people back to work especially in the construction sector, “whose vibrancy must not only be measured by the highway projects but in the construction of houses where the opportunity to employ skilled and semi-skilled labour is urgently required if we are to put food on the tables of the working class.”
He said the government must also develop incentives for import substitution and for reducing imports in areas where production and manufacturing can take place.
“It is curious that on the eve of the budget the Trade Minister admits that the ease of doing business has worsened. The number of disincentives to doing business far outweighs the incentives and the Trade Minister must shoulder the blame for this.
“If sustainable jobs are not created not only will economic progress be negatively impacted upon but our social stability will also come under pressure,” Rambachan said.