UNC MP for Oropouche West Davendranath Tancoo said Minister of Finance Colm Imbert has allowed the country’s global credit rating with Standard and Poors (S&P) global rating company to drop significantly since the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration ended in 2015.
Tancoo was speaking at the UNCs weekly media conference on Sunday.
He said when Imbert gained control of the ministry in 2015 he met an economy that was growing.
“We are here today in an economy which has collapsed under Minister Colm Imbert.”
Tancoo said Imbert is painting a picture of an economy that is doing fine, when the country is in fact in an economic crisis.
“Tell the people the truth of the state of the economy.”
He said during the period of Persad-Bissessar’s administration, S&P gave Trinidad and Tobago an A- grade rating.
“It is that confidence in the economy that (attracts) investors. They use S&P to determine if they want to invest…Within three months (of Imbert taking office) Standard and Poors went from an A rating to a negative outlook.
“From then to now we have fallen every year from 2015 to June. S&P has given TT a failing grade.”
He said this decline has nothing to do with covid19 as Imbert would have the public believe.
“It has everything to do with the minister’s incompetence and sabotage of the economy. For the minister to say that the S&P rating is an endorsement of policies is nothing less than hypocritical, forced, and patently untrue.
“A negative outlook is exactly that…A bad credit rating means investors will have less confidence and trust in the government’s policies and ability to repay loans. It will cause capital flight, reduction in jobs and more severe hardships, as has been happening.”
Tancoo said the dropping credit score has created a crisis of confidence in the government.
He said since 2015 there has been a negative outflow of foreign exchange, meaning there has been less coming in than going out.
He said an estimated US$439 million has migrated from TT. Tancoo also said TT's performance was the worst in the Caribbean in 2020 for foreign exchange direct investments.
With these results, he predicted increased job losses, business closures, and economic and social hardships.
“If your bank does not believe you can repay your investments, that would mean more challenges for you.”
He said covid19 has only made the problem worse, as the government has not implemented infrastructure to generate revenue.
“For (Imbert) to trivialise the state of our economy is a very worrying thing. It is either he does not understand basic economics, or he has set out to mislead the public. He is either incompetent or deceptive.
“Either is an indictment on the minister, and he should be immediately fired if TT is to have a hope of rallying through.”