UNC criticizes government borrowing and policies
Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo said it took 51 years and four governments to borrow up to $ 30 billion under the Development Loans Act, but the current government borrowed the double that number.
Speaking at the opposition press conference on Sunday, Tancoo said the government was passing the bill for spending for future generations.
“They live today by mortgaging the future of children. If the debt is evenly distributed, each person will owe more than $ 100,000.
Tancoo was referring to a statement made by Finance Minister Colm Imbert to Parliament on Friday, where Imbert said the government would be able to increase its borrowing limit from $ 55 billion to $ 65 billion for general development. under the Development Loans Act.
Tancoo said plans announced by Imbert for tougher penalties for infractions under Praedial theft prevention laws, summary offenses, tobacco control, children, state lands and minerals were all among the Minister’s plans to tax, impose fines and borrow.
“The fines that the minister mentioned already exist. How many people have been arrested and brought to justice for these offenses? Higher fines were of no value to the citizens of this country if no one was brought to justice. “
Tancoo also criticized the Imberts for not providing more funds to the Department of Agriculture to help with praedial flight patrols. He said farmers could contribute more to the economy if they didn’t have to worry about this problem.
“In the last budget, $ 500 million was set aside for an agricultural stimulus plan. Since then, $ 57 million has been turned over to the agriculture minister for the basket program, which has been plagued by corruption allegations. This means the finance minister has $ 443 million, which could be used to hire more officers from the praedial theft team and purchase additional vehicles and equipment to help farmers cope. to this problem.
Also speaking at the press conference, Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes criticized the government for its management of the energy sector. She wondered if the liberalization of the fuel market would really be of benefit to the people of TT. Referring to the formula announced by Imbert for a fuel tax, she called for a discussion on the subject.
“Are we going to take advantage of competition and have a truly liberal market? Where will the competitors come from? Will NP be an active player? Will it become a bulk oil distributor? Part of its fleet is already outsourced.
“Even though it’s supposed to be paid for by retailers, I’m sure it would be built into the price paid at the pump. The funds collected through the tax should be directly allocated to improving infrastructure.
“The condition of our roads has never been so bad. It is ridiculous to talk about the fuel market when you are asked to drive half a road. Spend it so that citizens can see the benefits. The government was unable to say how citizens would benefit, but arbitrarily said they would see lower prices. If you are considering adopting a new policy, come up with all the details in advance. Inventing it as you go will not be enough.
Tancoo also had questions for TSTT, Imbert and Public Services Minister Marvin Gonzales based on a note he said “found its way” into his mailbox.
“This is a memo from TSTT addressed to a director, and it states:” TSTT wishes to inform that it has selected a FinTech partner on the basis of the proposals linked / received in relation to the expression of interest (EOI) above.
“As a result, the FinTech component of the EOI is now closed, just to repeat, the FinTech component of the EOI is now closed. Notwithstanding the above, please note that TSTT continues to evaluate the other components of the EOI and will communicate on the rewards of the same, shortly after this is determined. TSTT thanks you for your interest in doing business with us. Sincerely, supply services. “
Tancoo said that having worked at a multi-billion dollar company, this approach was not at odds with his understanding of basic sourcing practices.
“The basic practice in procurement is the creation of specifications, the request for expressions of interest, either from known suppliers or in public, the examination of these expressions of interest and their evaluation, to assess the capacity and capacity of suppliers, the issuance of a formal tendering process, the evaluation of these offers, negotiations and then the award of the offer.
“I’ve never heard of a contract being awarded based solely on an expression of interest, especially if there are multiple potential supporters.”
“So I have to ask the directors of TSTT, the CEO of TSTT, the directors of TSTT, the Ministry of Public Services and the Ministry of Finance, to whom it all falls: is this price real? Because if it is the case, then clearly someone or someone in these entities has to be held accountable as it is not the funds of TSTT, it is funds that belong to the citizens of TT who pay taxes.
In a response released later Sunday, TSTT said, “TSTT is committed to strong and transparent business and procurement practices. The company would like to reiterate that it strictly adheres to its procurement procedures approved by the Board of Directors. selecting a FinTech partner who was referenced at a recent press conference, and that there were no violations of TSTT’s procurement processes. “
Phone calls and messages to Gonzales were not returned.