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Mottley: No budget, we’ll wait and see

ANTOINETTE CONNELL, [email protected]

Mottley: No budget, we’ll wait and see

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There will be no Budget presentation this year as Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and her Cabinet focus on the threat of the Covid-19, now spreading across the world.

Yesterday, Mottley said she was comfortable that the administration was doing all it could not only for Barbados, but for the region, as she is chair of CARICOM and the OECS is a major trading partner.

“[We’re] not having a Budget or anything soon because it is just too fluid . . . The budget was not intended to have any new taxes and therefore there is no reason for an immediate budget and we therefore will wait and see,” Mottley told media managers during a meeting yesterday at Government Headquarters.

The meeting was called to discuss the preparation for the Covid-19 and give an update.

It is rare that the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals commonly called the Budget is not delivered but it has happened under the Errol Barrow Administration in 1975 when he delivered what he called a “Fireside Chat”.

Yesterday, Mottley said her administration was putting together a survival package not only for the economy but for businesses and workers.

“We are fighting from a far stronger position that two years ago. We are fighting from the situation of restructuring and working on that and it is going to take a few more days. [We] also need to see the implication. We have not seen the worst in terms of the economic impact because [United States President Donald] Trump only shut off travel from this week and we started to see some cancellation in tourism,” the Prime Minister said.

She said with the foreign reserves at $1.544 billion, that covered 19 weeks of imports.

“We need to make sure banks are also working with the businesses and that businesses are also being prompt with the smaller suppliers. We are truly in a far better position to be able to fight this battle than we were two years ago. It will have an impact on Government revenue, it is going to have an impact on Government expenditure,” said Mottley. (AC)