Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Is T&T marking time?
If someone were to ask me what I thought about the 2014 budget, which was presented in Parliament on Monday, I would have to say it seemed to me as though Finance Minister Larry Howai was marking time; uncertain about the future direction or prospects of the T&T economy. This lack of certainty was apparent early in Mr Howai's presentation when he cited the fact that the executive board of the International Monetary Fund “welcomed the signs of economic recovery and agreed that the authorities' macroeconomic policies are appropriately supporting the recovery in the near term.”
Following that statement, Mr Howai said: “I caution, though, that the uncertainties in the global economy warrant circumspection if we are to progress to that degree of consistency in growth necessary to fulfil our development objectives.
“It is requisite too that the public sector debt should remain at a sustainable level. Within this framework, we must recognise that the transformation of our economy from its present commodity base to one which is fully-diversified can only occur over time; but we have identified the growth sectors, assigned responsibility and developed the plans for achieving our objective.”
Mr Howai then said he was certain that the policies outlined in the 2014 budget would improve T&T's macroeconomic stability by creating an environment conducive to sustained economic growth. “This budget continues on the path of reducing the fiscal deficit, while still funding adequately economic and social programmes and investment in infrastructure.”
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