Budget lacks vision and compassion for citizens

Minister of Finance Colm Imbert. File photo/Sureash Cholai
Minister of Finance Colm Imbert. File photo/Sureash Cholai

THE EDITOR: One of the most important, poignant, noticeable and pertinent observations from the 2022 budget is that the Government seems limited in vision and lacks compassion for citizens.

This conclusion can be derived from the statement that TT’s GDP has grown by 34 per cent since 2020, from $142 billion to an estimated $190 billion in 2022. That is an increase of $48 billion. Yet there is no apparent improvement in the quality of life for citizens over that period.

There seems to be an accepted norm that the country’s finances are for the benefit of the Government’s management team to boast of its financial management prowess. Team members brag about how well they have managed the economy, reduced national debt, increased savings and saved the country from economic ruin.

The fact is the finances of the country are the people’s money and the Government of the day is elected to manage those funds on behalf of the population.

So, what is the point of boasting of an increase of $48 billion when the people can only point to continued unreliable water distribution, unsafe communities, unsound food security policies and are now confronted by increases in fuel costs and the consequent increases in transportation and other goods and services.

The Government’s diversification policies seem tied to the energy sector with magnanimous future projects like the methanol-to-polyolefins project, the aluminium ingot processing project, and the alternative marine fuels project.

Safe and long-term projects like a major investment in agriculture so the nation can feed itself, especially with the threat of global social disruption to the food supply, were notably absent. The token mention of an improved agricultural sector indicates a lack of vision and understanding for long-term food security.

Another major area for diversification of the economy and possibility for long-term growth and development, tourism, was also given token attention. The proposal of a maximum of $50,000 for innovators and entrepreneurs to digitise the provision of their services indicates an almost total lack of understanding of what is required to improve the tourism package.

Property tax, local government reform, infrastructure and tourism, very key components to a restructured management model for the country, were all given mention that lacked vision, proper planning and specific objectives tied to deliverable-timed targets. There were no new infrastructure projects that are necessary for economic growth and development.

Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments was the safety and security sector. While there was talk of technological improvement, the basics like structured police patrols in our communities, reduced time to access justice, non-political interference in the appointment of key security personnel were notably absent.

The absence of a vision for encouraging our youth to pursue a career outside of criminal activities and to make sports an attractive alternate source of income was painful.

The Minister of Finance indicated that the budget was based on an oil price of $92.50. That figure seems exceedingly optimistic.

The people again were left out from benefitting from increased revenue and are again asked to suffer through economic adjustment when in fact they should have been celebrating the unexpected energy windfall.

For a better tomorrow and overall improvements in the welfare of the citizens of TT, there seem to be only one course of action: Employ competent people to manage the affairs of the State.


via e-mail


"Budget lacks vision and compassion for citizens"

More in this section