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‘Trinidad and Tobago won’t borrow for borrowing’s sake’

‘Trinidad and Tobago won’t borrow for borrowing’s sake’

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THE Prime Minister has said the government has never borrowed for the sake of borrowing but to keep the country on an even keel. Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew on Wednesday, he said if the government had not borrowed from international lenders in 2016, the economy would have collapsed, as there was a revenue gap of billions of dollars. He said if loans had not been taken, public servants would have been laid off and this would have had a knock-on effect on the economy.

He said government plans to get out of the poor revenue situation it is in by generating additional revenue streams, both from the energy and non-energy sectors. He said there would be significant changes and improvements going forward.

Dr Rowley said the government did the best it could to maintain the economy during the covid19 crisis.

“We understood we had to shut down the country and this would affect the economy. The finance minister came out with packages, first for the business community so there could be liquidity, then for people so they could buy food, medication and other essentials. The social services machinery didn’t have the capacity, so we reached out to local government and churches, etc., to assist.

“You wouldn’t hear about the people who have been helped though, it is the ones who did not receive anything who are talking.”

He said some people would not have received assistance from government because they did not qualify, in some instances because they would have attempted to access grants more than once.

“There were 4,000 people who had misbehaved in trying to get grants two and three times, so this is why we had to examine those who did apply. We realised if there was an identity system where we could immediately identify who had applied previously, it would have made the process easier. So that is one good thing that will come out of this.”

Rowley said talk of overhauling the public service was easier said than done, as it is a behemoth. He said any action taken on one side affected the other side, similar to a water bed. He said the jobs of both permanent and temporary workers would be affected by changes in the public service and this would have to be done carefully.

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