Drayton: Time to make cuts

Drayton said the current situation should allow the government to be conscientious about its spending and yesterday recommended several cutbacks that can be undertake in order to address the situation.

Among the recommendations made by Drayton are the removal of “vanity advertisement” and the $410 million constituency fund, a review of Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses Programme (GATE) and the fuel subsidy and cutbacks of Carnival expenditure.

She made the statements during her contribution to the debate on the Finance Variation of Appropriate Bill and Finance Bill in the Senate yesterday.

“Whilst we have experienced recessions and economic depression before our resilience has never really been tested because I don’t think we have ever given ourselves that chance. Everyone from babies in arms, to elderly to NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to businesses are reliant on government handouts or incentives to survive,” Drayton said.

“Under ANR Robinson back in the 80s when that government embarked on a bold venture of social and economic adjustments of course we know there were serious consequences there was a lot of anger so we do have the experience when harsh medicine must be delivered but it is my belief that strong medicine in one dose is the problem, if we are heeding advice and curtailing spending as we go along then a lot of the fallout will be certainly cushioned over time,” she said.

Drayton said “much government largesse” just weakens the society, deepens dependency and diverts capital from growth enhancing projects.

“Now falling energy prices present to us more opportunity for gain than loss depending on how we look at gains and loss it allows us to examine our lifestyles and to rid ourselves from the unnecessary and costly baggage and to plough resources into activities that would yield wealth down the road, all the talk about the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund as a fall back and months of export cover I think that is part of a depressing culture I think it is a distraction from how complex the problem is, we run huge annual deficits then lavish self praise over the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund,” Drayton said.

She described a decline in the price of gas and oil as “par for the course”.

“I recall when I commented on the budget back in September I said that it was stuck in a familiar zone of more welfare programmes, more spending of money we have not earned through productivity,” Drayton said.

“I said we were price takers with a taste for luxuries and should anything happen with the price tomorrow then we would understand the seriousness of the situation so I did put goat mouth on the budget,” she said.

Drayton suggested several steps the government can take to cut expenditure.

“I see no reason why the government cannot cut out entirely the $410 million allocated for constituency funding, I said falling prices provides us with opportunities this is an opportunity to cap the fuel subsidy so that when prices continue to rise or go back up whenever it is now capped at a certain level maybe capped at US$20 as the case might be within that framework,” Drayton said.

I really believe it is time we cut Carnival expenditure it is a time government minimises its involvement except for the basic infrastructure and traditional folk activities and just leave it to the private sector. Now I mentioned internet services for a reason and that is because all governments are now taxing these purchases so there is an opportunity to look at that it is not going to affect the most vulnerable”.

“I believe the government should reduce the spending on GATE like every thing else the government has crowded out business, once upon a time whether it was banks or the large corporations, if there were good workers and they wanted to fast track them they would put them on scholarship yes businesses are still continuing with their training funds but today they don’t have to bother with the scholarships and things like that because the government is doing it. So you would have a bank that is making profit of over a billion dollars surely they can pay for these scholarships”.

“I believe that State enterprises with deficits like the Water and Sewerage Authority should tighten their belts rather than crow so heavily. This one is not going to happen but I am saying it as a matter of principle and that is that the government should remove the tax amnesty and enforce the law think it needs to examine all infrastructural spending and take the opportunity to cut back on the highway spending”.

“I think it should cut all vanity ads from the budget there is a distinct difference between political advertising and information the public needs to have now none of these things would affect people generally in need so for whatever it is worth I suggest the government heed all the advice it has been given,” Drayton said.


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