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Economist: It’s just political document

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Students from various schools in San Fernando sit among guests during yesterday’s post-budget forum at OWTU headquarters, Paramount Building, Circular Road, San Fernando. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL

Economist Indira Sajewan-Ali has summed up the budget as nothing more than a political document. “The Minister of Finance really used the budget 2014 as a political tool in my view rather than a document that tells us about where the country is going from a development prospective,” she said at yesterday’s post-budget forum at the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Paramount Building headquarters, San Fernando, yesterday. She said the budget lacked creativity, vision and was too broad. 



She added: “My assesment of the budget is that it was not very imaginative, it was very mundane, it was an election budget, it was a political budget, it was a presentation which sought to delay hard decisions that are required in order to be taken along a sustainable growth and development path and it opted instead of a continuation of working, supporting and financing a dependency/wealthier state.” She said the social ramifications of that were frightening.


The minister boasted of full employment but she said it was not full employment when actually ten to 15 per cent of the employment was artifically generated by the budget revenue. Sajewan-Ali also noted that there was disconnect between education policy and the labour market because there was no vision. “We are employing a lot of our young professionals in the field for which they have not studied. We are under-employed. 


“We have degreed individuals who are working as clerks in the government service. That is not sustainable,” she added. When young people graduated, she said, they could not find jobs because the market was not creating jobs for them. Also touching on Government Assistant Tertiary Education (GATE), she said it had developed a sense of entitlement instead of a sense of responsibility. She said once GATE-assisted graduates got a job they should have to pay back, even 50 per cent.


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