Politician Ryan Walters is hoping the Government makes good on two deliverables when Prime Minister Mia Mottley presents her Budgetary Proposal and Financial Statement 2023 on Tuesday.
In a video which has been making rounds on social media, he urged the Government to “safeguard jobs” and to do “something more meaningful to bring down the price of food”.
“This year’s Budget presentation is probably already typed, printed and ready to be shared. However, I don’t think it is too late to ask the Government to address these two critical areas. Priority number one for this Government should be to ensure that people can earn an honest living and at a bare minimum be able to afford a basic basket of goods.” said the former Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate.
“Every effort seems to be taken to meet IMF [International Monetary Fund] or BERT [Barbados Economic Recovery Transformation] programme targets but much more needs to be done to ease the burden of regular tax-paying citizens.”
Walters said he remains hopeful that the Government will address the cost of living head-on, as the prices of most commodities have increased.
“We are paying around 23.5 per cent more on goods, and primarily food, than we were a few years ago. A tin of tuna could be as much as $5 on the shelves, a pack of biscuits $2.19, macaroni can start at $2.09, and a whole chicken can range between $20 to $27, depending on where you shop. Cereal and other basic items are slowly going out of the reach of the ordinary citizen.
“Gas prices moved from an average of $3.02 per litre in 2017 to almost $5 per litre last year. Electricity bills have gone up and are subject to another increase very soon,” he lamented.
The businessman also stressed that “we cannot afford to have any more persons on the breadline” as it would have a devastating impact on households.
“What that means is, first and foremost, pain for individuals and their children. How do they eat? How do they take care of the elderly? How do they pay bills? How can they upkeep their homes? How can they do something as simple as purchase a pair of slippers to put on their children’s feet, further less school clothes for the next school year?” Walters said.
The former DLP candidate for St Michael North West ended his five-minute video with advice to citizens.
“I urge you to stay focused. Keep what work you have until you can find better. Make the best decisions you can when you have to spend your money and try your best to stay afloat. Stay positive and focused on yourselves and the ones in your care,” he said. (IMC)