Perennially negative commentators!
That’s how Finance Minister Colm Imbert dismissed assorted comment on the economy during his Mid-Year Budget Review yesterday.
Detailing his defence of Government’s economic management via what he said was actual data, Imbert maintained T&T’s economy sustained three consecutive quarters of growth in 2018
“The news of an economic turnaround was met with cynicism by those opposed to us and by a number of perennially negative commentators who seem to be comfortable only when things are going badly. Some of these commentators appear incapable of seeing anything good in a positive report and are always searching for something prejudicial to say. I’ve even heard it said that one per cent growth is nothing to shout about, but you can be certain that if it was a 1 per cent decline they would be propagandising loudly about an “economic collapse!”
Imbert said recent articles and editorials on the economy weren’t based on any facts, “... but rely simply on sweeping statements, unproven theories and hearsay. They’re all negative and defeatist, as if the authors have a fervent wish that we as a country must fail.”
“But notwithstanding this campaign of negativity, data that is available from our Central Bank, our Central Statistical Office, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy, and in the public domain, confirms the indisputable fact that we’ve recovered from the oil shock of 2014 to 2016 and we’ve stabilised our economy.
He said few countries could have withstood the 38 per cent reduction in revenue which T&T did and survive.
“But through careful and prudent financial management by Government, we’ve managed to stabilise our economy, keep people in jobs, keep the country running on an even keel and return our country to growth. The pessimists and opposition voices inside and outside of the Parliament would have us believe that’s not so, but the facts and figures don’t lie,” he said.
Imbert said the fiscal outturn for the first half of 2019 for the fiscal accounts “points strongly in the direction of fiscal sustainability.
He said Government intends directing resources into areas which would support not only the private sector in its business activities but also in enhancing growth and development, including infrastructure rollout - roads, highways, bridges and hospitals - and discharging arrears to commercial suppliers and contractors as well as liquidating VAT refunds.