P.M. Says Budget Will Not Be One of Austerity
The budget for the financial year 2017/2018 will be tabled at the House of Representatives this coming Monday. It is known that government will have to do belt-tightening and increase revenues through various forms in the range of a reported seventy million dollars. Prime Minister Barrow, during a press conference on Wednesday, allayed all fears of a pending retrenchment ahead of the budget presentation. When asked, he did not confirm or deny any increase in sin taxes, which include alcohol and cigarettes. But Barrow is confident that teachers’ salary increments and the livelihoods of hundreds of public officers will not be affected.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“We have been signaling this for months now that this is a year of fiscal consolidation in terms of the budget that we are doing. They want to be sure that we do pass such a budget and so we’ve agreed that the Financial Secretary will certify that that has been done once the budget has been passed, so that we can get this three percent fiscal consolidation without, without, let me make clear, without a single public officer being retrenched. And that I describe in absolute terms. In other words, not only will there be no overt retrenchment. You noh wahn got no backdoor, surreptitious, sleeper type retrenchment. No public officer will be retrenched. No increment freeze. The last installment of the salary increase which I, I won’t embarrass anybody but others would have liked to see turn into a health insurance scheme for public officers and teachers but which the BNTU was having none of. That three percent which we put off because of the hurricane last year will be paid, together with the interest. And so while consolidation there will be, while tightening there will be, while revenue raising measures there will be, while spending slashes there will be, we will present a budget that will leave intact and preserve our public officers and teachers and the working man and woman. No rollback as had been suggested by the IMF of the threshold for income tax relief. No business tax increase, certainly no rollback of that food pantry and BOOST. In fact, I think we di look fi ker dat up lee bit.”