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Wednesday 20 November 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Another deficit budget and no ideas for forex

THE EDITOR: Another year and another deficit budget. If TT was a private business it would be declared bankrupt.

One would think the objective would be to present a balanced budget so that future generations would not be burdened with the financial legacy.

As long as our representatives continue to be motivated by votes and not performance and accountability, we cannot expect any improvement in the social and economic reality in TT.

True leadership produces change and improvement, coupled with empowerment.We don’t expect miracles but certainly when we scan the social and economic environment we witness a measure of decay and dissatisfaction among most.

The proposed minimum wage increase will be passed on to consumers and result in another increase in the cost of living to already burdened citizens (this should have been done when we had money).

Is anybody listening?

There are a lot of excuses by the Government but little delivery.

Let’s look at the energy sector and what should have been done:

* The investment tax credit should have been increased to at least 50 per cent, instead of 20 per cent, to encourage oil producers to drill more wells.

* Oil producers should have been allowed capital allowances over two years at 50 per cent per year; over the five years will discourage oil companies from drilling as there would be less revenue to reinvest in new wells.

* Again, this allowance of 75 per cent of profits to be written off against losses forces oil producers to pay taxes and therefore not have sufficient revenue to reinvest in drilling development wells.

* Where is the incentive for exploration drilling for companies to find new oil sands never developed before?

The budget was predicated on oil at US$60 and gas at US$3, both of which will not be achieved so the deficits/borrowing will continue and the expenditure gap will widen.

The budget did not reveal any plans for further investment, no ideas for creating new income streams, development and plans to gain forex.

So how will all the other problems facing the country be solved?

Problems like the flooding around the farm lands in St Augustine. There is no strategy for this.

No plan for dealing with shortages in several areas. Remember when our nurses were migrating because of poor salaries and also the shortage of doctors for the same reason? We solved that by bringing in doctors from Cuba, Nigeria, and the Philippines and at that time we could have afforded to pay both the nurses and doctors more.

And because of the lack of forex, people trying to access sites like JC Penny, Rooms to Go etc for online shopping are unable to do so. As it turns out, we are being blocked from accessing these sites.

Things are heading from bad to worse. So sit back and wait until TT becomes Venezuela and you become the refugees in another man’s land.

GORDON LAUGHLIN

via e-mail

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