This budget is a “ratch”, made up of unrealistic predictions based on impractical plans that will not benefit average citizens. So said MP for Oropouche West, Davendranath Tancoo speaking on a wide ranging interview on Akash Vani 106.5 FM this morning.
MP Tancoo who is the shadow Minister of Finance for the Opposition in Parliament, cautioned that the cost of living is going to increase as poor people will be pushed further into poverty. MP Tancoo said persons on fixed incomes like pensioners, will now have to pay property tax, increased water and electricity rates and higher prices for basic food!
What this means is that there is less money for food and medications and other basic necessities. MP Tancoo said that given the Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert’s history, we can have no confidence in statistics used by the Minister. The Oropouche West MP stated that the Minister of Finance failed to admit to the country that last year’s budget deficit was $13.07 billion, substantially more than the $8 billion Imbert repeatedly projected.
Tancoo predicts a budget deficit significantly higher than the TT$9 billion the Minister projects, citing increased borrowing and raiding of the HSF. For Tancoo, the Government’s refusal to deal frontally with the issues facing normal citizens means that our people will continue to suffer a falling standard of living. Further, Tancoo noted that the $600 million wipeout by the NGC could have paid the government’s estimated revenue for 2022 from property tax a startling six times!
Removing VAT on a few items and pretending that prices will drop whilst ignoring the fact that shipping costs have increased by over 300 percent, fools no one Tancoo said. What is worse, is that this clueless Minister was boasting about removing VAT from items that were already VAT free.
Tancoo asked is it not ironic that the Minister of Finance refused to spend the $443 million set aside to stimulate agriculture but is saying he can do nothing about food prices?
Accusing the government of willful negligence and geographic discrimination, Tancoo complained that citizens of the Constituency of Oropouche West are habitually ignored by the government except as a source of taxation. Citing flooding, potholed roads and dangerous landslides, Tancoo said there was a taxi driver doing more work at fixing potholes that the Minister of Works. The MP advised that during the upcoming budget debate he will speak some more on these issues and challenged citizens to continue to unite and call the government to account.