Kamla: Jobs, social safety net, construction, partnerships central to economic strength and stability
“When Finance Minister Colm Imbert presents his budget tomorrow, we will see whether the Rowley administration intends to protect jobs and the vulnerable, keep the construction sector moving and build partnerships with the private sector. Protecting jobs and the most vulnerable, keeping the construction sector moving and building partnerships with the private sector are central to consolidating and building the economic strength and stability of Trinidad and Tobago. And of course, the new government’s crime fighting initiatives would be most welcome given the upsurge in murders .”
This, from Leader of the Opposition, Kamla Persad-Bissessar in a statement issued Sunday, in anticipation of the Budget Statement to be presented in the House of Representatives on Monday by the new Minister of Finance.
According to the former Prime Minister: “Already we are seeing job losses in the public service and while one may try to qualify them as short or long term, the fact is that many people are now without the incomes they had before because of Government action”.
“Earning and preserving the confidence of working men and women, through job security, is critical for the confidence required to make tough decisions. The Government has a duty to explain how any tough decisions will ultimately benefit the population.”
Persad-Bissessar also said social protection for the vulnerable is critical to economic stability, adding that her Government had implemented programmes which sought to provide a social safety net for the vulnerable whilst also seeking to empower them through training so as to make them better prepared for the present as well as new job markets.
Adding that her administration always worked to guard the vulnerable and middle class when time came for economic adjustments, Persad-Bissessar said: “I also hope that in all of the proposals examined by the Government, we do not see the burden of economic adjustment being passed on to the most vulnerable, the working class and middle class families.”
Persad-Bissessar further stated: “Also very important to ensuring economic stability and a path of sustainability is building the environment for active partnerships with the private sector. Continuing such partnerships is important to ensure that momentum of the construction sector can be maintained and increased.”
She added, “Maintaining construction momentum in housing and infrastructure will ensure we avoid spin off effects such as job losses, slowed consumer spending and a fall in confidence in the Government’s ability to effectively manage the economy.”
The Opposition Leader also assured that though time has been short for the new Government, the People’s Partnership left a solid economic and financial platform. “Applied competence will therefore play a much greater role in managing the economy through challenges than tough sounding talk and authoritarian signals”, she said.
“The Government must be careful to balance its desire to stamp its personal brand on the management of the economy (which they are entitled to do) with doing what is right and in the best interest of all the people of Trinidad & Tobago,” she stated.