Last update: 11-Dec-2013 5:04 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Ex-minister: 2013 Budget anticlimactic
The budget for fiscal year 2013 to 2014 was “anticlimactic” and lacking details said Mariano Browne, former Trade Minster under the last PNM administration.
“The budget was a bit anti-climatic. It was long on rhetoric. There are the issues of procurement reforms, the issue of term limits, campaign finance reform which are not necessarily things you will find in the budget. But I think from a country perspective it is necessary to establish some benchmarks on our returns. The budget speech is supposed to be about how you raise revenue, how you tax and how you use resources from an economic perspective,” he said.
Browne said after three budgets from this Government, T&T is on the wrong path. “We have International Monetary Fund (IMF) programmes around the region, we have highly indebted economies who are all in great difficulty across the board. There is a point in time when we must ask ourselves if what we were doing before was right and if we are on a new path. And if we review the past three budgets the answer would have to be no,” he said.
Browne, who spoke at a post budget forum hosted by the Heliconia Foundation at the Capital Plaza Hotel, Port-of-Spain, said the economy and society has not made any progress over the last three years. “We lost momentum. We have brought nothing new to the table. We do not have a new philosophy. We have lost time. We have basically stood still for three years,” he said. He said in other countries, important parts of the budget is made public so that people have an idea of what to expect and maybe it is something T&T can look at.
“Apart from the budget document, there are other documents on revenue and expenditure and the allocation by ministries. In some countries like Barbados they lay the estimates before so the opposition has time to look at the document and whatever time the minister speaks for, the opposition has the same amount of time. “In this way the public is much more informed and there is the ability and time to digest the information,” he said.
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