Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley failed to communicate to the population how his government intends to deal with the negative fallout and impact on the population from increasing food prices as a result of an increase in VAT by 12.5% on hundreds of food items which were previously zero-rated. His contribution late last night in the Parliament on the Finance Bill lacked foresight and a real plan for the country to weather its recession.
There was no discussion on diversification of the economy to create new revenue streams, no discussion on managing massive job losses across the country with the latest being 200 workers sent home from CENTRIN, no commitment to implementing other safety net measures for the poor and vulnerable who will bear the burden of increased food prices the most, no commitment to reducing our food import bill which stands at $4Billion annually and increasing, no plan to curb the spike in crime due to high unemployment.
Small and micro enterprises will also be hard hit with the increases in the Business Levy Fund and Green Fund tax, their survival depends on the government ability to implement other economic and fiscal measures to offset the tax impact.
Instead we heard a Prime Minister rambling on and laying blame at the former Peoples Partnership Government. The government must know by now that the honeymoon period is over and their strategy of bringing higher taxes and higher food prices in the midst of the Carnival season will fool no one.
Couva North Member of Parliament