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No evidence of economic growth in SVG – Eustace

No evidence of economic growth in SVG – Eustace

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There is no evidence of economic growth in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

This is the view of Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace with regard to the fiscal report given by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves earlier this week.

According to Gonsalves, the deficit in this country for the past nine months{{more}} is $4 million; significantly lower in comparison to last year’s $17.2 million for the same period.

When he called in on the New Times programme on Wednesday, Eustace declared that the figures presented by Gonsalves were fooling the people of this country.

“He showed how the deficit has declined from 17.2 million last year up to this time and by only 4 million this year… I have to ask the Prime Minister one question,” the Opposition Leader said.

“With respect to 2014, the Prime Minister’s government … [took] money … that people paid to the NIS (National Insurance Services) and used it for normal government expenditure. Now that, according to them, was $15 million. So, they spent it, which means it came like a source of revenue to them. Now, if you are saying you have a deficit and you got $15 million, not from revenue, but was belonging to somebody else, your deficit is not $4 million you know. Your deficit is $19 million. And the $19 million is more than the deficit last year of $17.2 million.”

Eustace stressed that the Government had to account for the $15 million borrowed from the NIS and called for the Government to explain why it was not counted as part of the deficit.

“I don’t want anybody to be fooled by that: deficit drop from $17 million to $4 million. I want the Government to explain what has happened in relation to the $15 million. What they use it for. Was it to help pay salaries or any other Government expenditure? It was stolen in that sense and used for something; it was not the Government’s to spend. They had no approval to spend that, so they have to add that to the $4 million to get the real deficit, which will make it $19 million,” he said.

“I’m tired of this deception and so on. I don’t like when you present things like that and fool the public. You still have to account for the $15 million…because people are not very versed in financial matters and so on, sometimes these things go unnoticed.”(BK)