In the face of massive economic failure, the Minister of Trade consoles a failed government with poor results. The announcement of the Minister of Trade of massive growth in the non-energy sector in 2019 flies in the face of the IMF reports, Economic logic and conventional wisdom. The Review of the Economy 2019 of the Ministry of Finance shows that the 2018 non-energy exports were the lowest for the entire Rowley PNM administration. In fact the exports were so low in 2018 that an increase by as much as twenty percent over 2019 would still not return non-energy exports to 2017 levels. To make matters worse 2017 non-energy export levels were still 4.4% lower than 2016 levels. Therefore, the Minister of Trade by trumping half year statistics could only be seeking to fool the Prime Minister with false announcements of progress.
Has the Rowley PNM hijacked the CSO as a PR data mouthpiece? In the wake of the Prime Minister appointing himself Planning Minister is the government misappropriating information and awarding themselves growth achievements that simply do not exist. The fact that the CSO website has no export data since 2017 (checked on January 3rd 2020) hints at an attempt to hide poor economic performance.
The Central Statistical Office is the repository of growth data in the domestic economy. The Prime Minister on Old Year’s Day became line Minister responsible for the CSO. It begs the question if the CSO is now a Public Relations tool of the Rowley PNM. Are these suspiciously self-proclaimed accolades at the expense of quality development data?
This government has the worst economic record for the past three decades. The facts when laid bare are indisputable. Closure of the oil refinery has resulted in disadvantageous foreign exchange flows in crude oil by comparison. A case in point is that at present crude prices are the highest it has been for the past three months. This is due in no small part to the crisis brewing regarding Iran. In times like these, T&T policy makers usually rejoice. But due to the need to import half of our national output in refined petroleum products we suffer a negative forex hit. The loss of in excess of sixty thousand jobs over the past four years has been an indictment on bad economic planning. The Minister of Trade’s announcement of gains in the non-energy sector came at a time when the largest conglomerate announced massive retrenchment. It does not take genius to know that our economy is failing. Alas the people that suffer are the masses.
T&T requires a plan that is as visionary as it is balanced by pragmatism. The nation requires focus for the masses of unemployed doctors, engineers, masons, carpenters, educators, musicians, wire-benders, costume makers, musicians, technicians and professionals in all spheres. The solutions therein can be found in the Economic Transformation plan as articulated by the Political Leader of the United National Congress, Mrs Kamla Persad Bissessar, S.C.
What the nation needs is not a Minister of Trade to massage the inflated ego of a failed economic manager PM Rowley. The latest comedy is a Prime Minister who had no plan is now in charge of the Ministry of Planning. A favourite song for the carnival season is the horn song called “Wrong Again” sang by Skinny Banton. The citizens have changed the chorus to read, “What Rowley do Wrong Again”. December 2nd 2019 was proof enough that the people of T&T want change and are ready to usher in the UNC.
The Prime Minister must waste no more time and call the election now.