Opposition Leader Mia Mottley believes that the viability of businesses in Barbados is at stake.
And she has chided Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, for spending many minutes of his speech addressing a matter that had already been dealt with instead of saying how specific funds would be recapitalised to assist the agricultural sector.
Mottley voiced these concerns earlier today in the House of Assembly while speaking on the 2013-2014 Estimates.
She noted that the Agricultural Development Fund had declined from $18.9 million to $10.2 million, while charging that nothing has been said about the recapitalisation of the Catastrophe Fund for farmers.
Mottley recalled that the fund for chicken farmers was established in 2004 to assist those who had suffered losses during bad weather. She suggested that the Estimates should be telling Barbadians how Government was going to stabilise the country’s enterprises.
The former deputy prime minister noted that it would be the enterprises that would be sending home people in order to ensure that revenue matched expenditure.†These same enterprises, she explained, would become insolvent because when an individual began a business from scratch it took two to three years before the investor saw returns.
“Therefore, when we say we need a rescue plan for the enterprises within the private sector, it is because if you do not save them and you have to begin from a blank page again, then it is going to take too long,” she said
“The economy will not get the growth spurts so that Government’s revenue position and public financial situation can be stabilised.
Addressing the outcome of the February 21 general election, Mottley argued that the electorate had sent both parties the message that they must move away from the blame game of the past.
She said: “Looking in the past does not help any of us. Right now Barbados requires every ounce of our energy to move this country forward. And I feel that if we are going to be fair to the people of Barbados, that is where our efforts should be.
“I am not saying that it is easy to go and find this money, and quite frankly Sinckler is going to have a hell of a job because the expenditure levels are too high without a doubt. The revenue reflects the very desperate situation of the enterprises whose viability is threatened. The $110 million decline in VAT reflects the decline in business.”
Mottley stressed that Government needed to find ways to rescue and stabilise the country’s businesses if it is going to improve its finances. (NC)††