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Oct 17, 2018

Opposition Leader Says Debt, Unemployment and Business Climate need to be addressed

John Briceño

The I.M.F. report also sighted areas of weaknesses and recommended drastic measures such as an increase in the G.S.T. and a reduction in the number of government employees. P.U.P. Leader John Briceño has his own prescriptions. He says that the Government should address three fundamental issues for the economy to improve. He identified these as debt reduction, job creation, and a better business climate. Briceño says that the government also needs to tackle corruption head-on as it negatively affects the economy.

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“I guess that the officials from the IMF, I think they were being polite and they are telling them, ‘well you are doing good on something but look at the other aspects’. When you look at the fundamentals, what they were saying. Number one, the debt is still at almost a hundred percent. It is too high. Even with the recent restructuring of the super bond, we are almost at a hundred percent. They are mentioning that they have about five percent of GDP as outstanding debt that they have not even brought in as part of the books because of the losses that the Government has done with these different lawsuits that they have been facing. They mention about the growth, yes two percent but two percent is not good enough for a country where there is a three percent plus population growth. So that means that more and more people are being kept behind. The third issue is the issue about the business climate that is not there which the government is not addressing. We need to look how we can make more credit more accessible through the business community by setting up a business bureau. We need to be more flexible on how to set more business easier.  We need to address the issue of corruption that affects businesses and the government. So these are just some fundamental issues that the IMF is pointing out to the government.  And while they are saying that employment has gone down further by nine pint four percent, what is the reality on the ground? You go to any business across the length and breadth of this country and they will tell you that every week they are getting dozens of people applying for jobs that do not exist.”


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