UWP wants budget to address fiscal deficit and unemployment

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UWP wants budget to address fiscal deficit and unemployment
Opposition Leader Dr. Gale Rigobert at Friday's press briefing.
Opposition Leader Dr. Gale Rigobert at Friday’s press briefing.

As government prepares to present the 2014/2015 Budget in the House of Assembly on April 29, Opposition Leader Dr. Gale Rigobert said she hopes the administration have included strategies to tackle the high fiscal deficit and unemployment.

Speaking at a press briefing on Friday at her office, Dr. Rigobert hopes to raise her party’s concern about the fiscal situation and the debt to Gross Domestic Product GDP ratio, which stands at approximately 89 per cent. She believes a consorted policy intervention is needed to correct the fiscal deficit.

According to her, anything close to 60 per cent is worrying. The current economic situation therefore needs to be reversed, she added.

She said the trend of rising unemployment at 25 per cent and youth unemployment at 43 per cent is unhealthy.

“I am hoping to see some policy intervention that seeks to incentify growth and those of potential investors… to ensure that (hotels) are given the requisite institutional and regulatory support to attract investment and to bolster that particular sector,” she said.

The opposition leader stressed that a concerted effort to revisit the current incentives for the local private sector and potential investors is also required.

In responding to government’s defense that other Caribbean states have far higher fiscal deficits, Dr. Rigobert said the administration must be careful in comparing themselves to other countries.

“Whether you want to apply a statistical caution of a plus or minus five per cent, the point is it is an unhealthy economic situation, it is an unhealthy fiscal situation to be in,” she added.

Government, she said, must realise that it cannot borrow its way out of the current fiscal deficit nor can it tax its way out of the current fiscal situation. She said if the private sector continues to be taxed heavily it is going to restrict disposable income and consumption, which will lead to further contraction of the local economy. This is something the UWP has raised repeatedly at its recent press briefings.

The opposition leader said she hopes that some consideration will also be given to the plight of farmers in Micoud North.

“The Christmas Eve trough further deteriorated the agricultural feeder roads… and I really hope that the minister responsible for agriculture and finance will finally take heed to the cries of the farmers in that village,” she stated.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with you all Gale should not highlight problems she should be offering solutions. Then what would the Prime Minister's job be? I guess to criticise her plan and take the good points and make it his own. Right? You already have a government which is incompetent and hiding figues to mask their hopelessness. Why don't you ask Jadia to come up with solutions since she draws so much? I forgot. Thats not her job. Yea fools.

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  2. We all live in Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia belongs to all of us. So Dr Rigobert instead of waiting for the government to address the fiscal deficit and unemployment, why don't you proffer solutions as to how to remedy this situation. All we hear in Saint Lucia is a whole lot of noise and nothing substantial, always a press release but nothing being offered to advance the economy. If you are going to point out what is wrong with the economy, please do us a favour, offer a working solution in that same breath. This is getting really old.

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  3. Shouldn/t they get the brunt of the blame Because when they had receive all the millions, What did they do with it, Squander it and spend it on their friends and families, If they had put to good used all the millions that was given to st lucia Don,t you think that this government and st lucia would have been in a better position.

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  4. Can the opposition some practicable solutions to the problems they are highlighting?They just left office and did not leave a platform for economic growth hence the spill off as far as i am concern.Talk is always cheap on the outside.

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  5. What is 'their' proposal to better the economy. If they (uwp) can't come up with a plan they should shut their .....

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  6. No one has ever accused Dr. Rigobert of being a complex thinker, but the intellectual deficiency required to achieve that level of arrogance and ignorance is staggering. Stop justifying your arguments with specious reasoning. It makes you sound stupid.
    Most people would agree that there is not much oomph in the economy, but there is nothing seriously pushing it down. Growth in the private sector has stagnated. Therefore, Dr. Rigobert, in a depressed economy with low interest rates, the government should be spending more, not less, and an era of mass unemployment is not time to be focusing on potential fiscal problems decades in the future. We have to increase expenditures to stimulate the economy. It worked in the United States during the Great Depression, it succeeded in Argentina and it will undoubtedly work in St. Lucia under the leadership of the SLP.

    Conversely, Dr. Rigobert, it seems that you and the UWP are hell-bent on reducing cooperate taxes and eager to impose draconian austerity measures on the people. May I inform you that Britain is going through a double-dipped recession and most of the EU Nations are wallowing in doubt and uncertainty. Chose your medicine Dr. Rigobert. You cannot have economic austerity and stimulus at the same time. The former is paralyzing whereas the latter comforting to all.

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    • jacques - UK is not having double dip recession. economics is not an exact science and you can't take the measures from one coutnry to another as they have different input factors (resources, population skills, debt). Lucia fares poorly on all counts.

      The biggest problem is politicians running up debts on unproductive initiatives and spending like drunken sailors.

      Economies work best when the state does enough to allow the private sector (PEOPLE) to flourish. Low tax, low regulation

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    • 'May I inform you that Britain is going through a double-dipped recession'

      The UK currently has the highest GROWTH in the EU. Not sure where you get your news from.

      If St Lucia takes on much more debt at the sort of interest rates it currently is paying there will be no way back from the brink. Taking on debt to pay for make-work programmes such as NICE cutting grass and picking up litter others have just dropped does absolutely NOTHING to further the interests of the country for the longer term.

      We don't need austerity but we do need a more productive civil service and there are plenty of ways to work on productivity while expanding the role of certain civil servants to add value rather than let them go and add to existing unemployment.

      In last year's budget we were told that there was going to be some sort of bi-partisan VISION commission - great meeting of the great minds - set up to work out where St Lucia needs to go. Quite clearly NOBODY has a clue what to do, though I do like the initiatives to develop the ICT area which is long long overdue but only really makes sense if it earns foreign currency and export revenue.

      How about working on St Lucia becoming a centre for medical excellence and related, with an accredited ST LUCIA university college medical school, feeding into the new hospital, working hand in hand with Taiwan?

      For just about anything else, the high cost of utilities, particularly electricity, sadly along with theft, is usually the killer to any long-term business prospects.

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  7. She is on the ball, people. Am I glad it is coming from her. It seems that she has been well-guided or well-informed on this one.

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