Today MP for Oropouche West, Davendranath Tancoo engaged in the Standing Finance Committee of the Parliament demanding explanations from government for how they spent taxpayers’ money. Several inconsistencies were identified which suggest that the government deliberately understated the expenditure.
In one instance, in the allocation for Health Services Support Programme $60 million was budgeted for 2021. However, the documents supplied by the Government claimed nothing was spent. When questioned by MP Tancoo, the Minister of Health advised that the money was in fact spent but admitted that he was unable to provide an explanation as to why this expenditure was not included in the publications provided to taxpayers. This is important because if money is spent but not listed as spent, it means that the expenditure figures for the Ministry, provided by the Minister of Health is in fact wrong.
Tancoo noted that this was not a small figure but a $60-million-dollar difference in one item and in one Ministry but that if a similar situation exists in other Ministries then both government expenditure and the Budget deficit will be actually be substantially larger than the figure given by the Minister of Finance Colm Imbert.
This casts doubt on the integrity of the data being provided by the government during this budgetary exercise. As Leader of the Opposition Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar said, “the maths not mathsing.”
On another instance, the Government figure showed a $1 decrease in allocation for debt repayment in the 2022 estimate. There was an $8 decrease in another allocation. When questioned as to whether this was another “typo”, Minister Imbert repeatedly refused to refused to answer choosing to try to obfuscate the issue.
MP Tancoo believes that this is deliberate attempt by the Minister of Finance and this government to hide the real figures of expenditure and deficit, as it will prove their incompetence and mismanagement of the economy. It also makes a mockery of the budgeting process as the projected expenditure figures will have been deliberately understated so that the deficit will not look as bad as it really is.
Tancoo declared “The Minister of Finance and this Rowley administration need to stop manipulating data and information, and provide true state of our nations finances. Citizens deserve the truth.”