Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, has challenged the Opposition to put their plans on paper for the reduction of Government expenditure.
Sinckler threw out this challenge to the Opposition today while wrapping up the debate on a bill through where Government sought approval to raise the level of short-term borrowing from the Central Bank from $1.75 billion to $2.75 billion.
He recalled that the Barbados Labour Party manifesto for the recently held general elections had nothing to say about deficit reduction.
Sinckler said: “You say you are a Government in waiting, so tell us what your growth strategy will be. Let me know what Government departments you will close down; how many people you will be sending home. You cutting expenditure, who will benefit from the tax cuts.”
The minister of finance charged out that the Opposition was calling for a reduction in the level of VAT, and the return of allowances, but did not accept that with these concessions Government’s deficit would increase by $300 million.
Sinckler denied that the current crisis had reached the level of that of 1991, pointing out that the Freundel Stuart Administration had managed the foreign reserves better.
Reacting to Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley’s claim that everyday she was being approached by persons who faced challenges in paying their utility bills, Sinckler said even before he had entered Parliament he faced pleas from persons who were unable to pay their bills.
While acknowledging that there was a lack of confidence among banks in Government paper, he stressed that they were not the only financial institutions which invested in such instruments.
Sinckler gave Barbadians the assurance that Government would carry out an intense review of the past four years and outline a growth path for the future. He said a team was hard at work and was willing to accept inputs from all members of the society.†(NC)