Mia: Bring budget now
THIS country cries out for leadership to revive the economy and the time has come for a budget to chart a course for recovery charged Opposition Leader Mia Mottley yesterday.
She was speaking during a Press conference in which she responded to an economic review of the first six months of 2010 from Central Bank Governor, Dr Delisle Worrell.
Stating that little was being done to revive the economy, Mottley said the Government could not pay its bills and the productive sectors – tourism, manufacturing, international business, agriculture – were not earning foreign exchange.
Speaking in the Opposition’s chambers, Mottley said she was disappointed that with the country in dire straits, there was a deafening silence from Government with nothing being heard from Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Darcy Boyce and acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
“We are standing in the middle of the road with an 18-wheeler truck bearing down. And the two ministers of finance – Boyce and Stuart – are standing idly by without a word.
“Barbados needs a budget like yesterday. And the budget must set out for the country a short term economic recovery plan while laying the basis for restructuring in the medium term.
“A cut here and a cut there will not help any household or business in this country see their way forward. We need to restructure both Government’s operations and the productive sectors urgently,” she said.
According to Mottley, revenue was down in the first six months of this year by $101 million from what was received at the corresponding period last year.
The Opposition Leader said that for the first time since Independence, Barbados had recorded three successive years of a fiscal current account deficit.
“We would normally as a Government only have to borrow for capital projects but we are now having to borrow to meet our normal commitments (wages and salaries, goods and services) on a monthly basis.
“This is a serious problem. It’s a serious problem, happening in a household, it’s a serious problem happening at the level of a Government.”
Mottley said the Central Bank report for the first five months, showed that this country had spent $182.3 million more than it earned in revenue.
“Why is this disturbing? Because for all of 2008 when we thought things were bad, they incurred a deficit of $121 million.
Mottley said this was so with the Government claiming it was holding to its medium term fiscal strategy.