It’s all ‘rhetoric’, says Opposition Leader
Government has been accused of engaging in rhetoric when it tells people that it is embarking on policy initiatives to improve the economy.
Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley made this charge in the House of Assembly yesterday as she replied to the 2013 Budget delivered Tuesday by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.
Mottley referred to a Democratic Labour Party promise of a “talk tax” on mobile phones and a tax on lottery winnings previously mooted by Government with the latter now reintroduced.
“When people hear these measures – if you have served time in Government, you would believe that it is Government by pronouncement, that is the problem with this Government. They believe that they pronounce and it happens out of midair when . . . pronouncement is simply the first step to making something happen. That is why this Government has initiatives which are taking three or four years to get to Parliament and, in some instances, initiatives that cannot be executed.”
Mottley also referred to a Greening levy announced last year by the Sinckler.
“… (T)he Greening levy could not be executed because it was based on income to be collected by the [National?Insurance Scheme] on a graduating basis without recognizing that the NIS can only collect on the basis of earnings and it had to be a flat tax. That is why this [has] now morphed into municipal solid waste tax of a flat rate of 0.7 per cent.” She said Government had perfected the art of developing policy measures without advice from public servants that were impossible of execution.Motley also questioned the viability of putting people on a short week.
“People’s pension rights accrue on the basis of unbroken service and therefore when decisions may be made to put [them] on three-day week or four-day week, it has the implications for their pension rights and their National Insurance benefits because it depends on what three days they work.?So that this matter of executing a programme by September 2013 – Sir, do you know that today is August 14? Do you know September 2013 is in 17 days?”
Mottley also said the unions did not know anything about the short week.
“In less than three weeks, this Government wants the people of this country – and the Inter-American Development Bank, for whom these measures are being done, and the [International?Monetary?Fund] IMF’s seal of approval – to believe that they are going to cut $30 million over 18 months, of which $12 million will come in this financial year.”(JS)