Mottley: An ambush
IF GOVERNMENT COULD not achieve a $120 million adjustment in seven months as announced in the Budget last August, how will it achieve a $510 million adjustment in 12 months?
This is the question which Opposition Leader Mia Mottley said was the crux of the Estimates of Revenue And Expenditure 2014-2015, whose debate in Parliament started yesterday.
Mottley, in her reply to the introduction of the Appropriations Bill by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, said the $88 million in expenditure cuts and $36 million in revenue which Government had sought in the last Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals had not been achieved, yet Government was seeking to move its deficit from 11.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 5.5 per cent, which amounted to $510 million, via a contraction in expenditure, an increase in revenue or a combination of both.
Calling these Estimates an “ambush” as part of that plan, Mottley said she could not recall any similar occasion when the Estimates debate ended up being an imposition of about $100 million in taxes via Government’s energy policy, which would include a removal of the 23 cents subsidy on diesel for public service vehicles, agricultural farmers, fishermen and other businesspersons.