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Eustace: The country is going, down, down down

Eustace: The country is going, down, down down

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Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace says that the situation at the state owned National Commercial Bank (NCB), which has registered a plunge in profits, is a very “serious situation and speaks to the economic decline.”

“The country is going down, and down and down,” Eustace said. {{more}}

“We have gone in a single year from a profit of $15.8 million to $1.1million. They earned $14.7 million less in 2009 than in 2008,” the Opposition Leader explained.

“This represents a dreadful state of affairs and is a very serious matter,” he added.

“The government must learn to act more responsibly in relation to finances,” Eustace said.

The Opposition Leader said that what was even worse, was the amount recorded as losses on loans for the same period, jumping from $193,000 in 2008 to $10.66 million in 2009.

Eustace attributed this loss to the fact that persons were finding it difficult to make payments on loans; which was ultimately an indication that the economy was in dire straits.

He contended that with the two major sectors, tourism and agriculture on the decline, the economy was expected to register negative growth, which contradicted the government’s claim that the economy was doing well.

According to Eustace, the country would register an estimated negative two to three per cent growth this year. He made reference to the issue of the overdraft at the NCB which stood in excess of the limit set at $60 million.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves stated that the Public Sector overdraft as at June 30, 2009 stood at $87,905,557. He was responding to a question posed by Eustace at the August 13th sitting of Parliament. Gonsalves noted that the overdraft fluctuates and that the overdraft for central government alone on that date stood at $69,591,820.

He further stated that the figure was below $60m in August. (DD)

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