Former Finance Minister Anthony Boatswain says that if the New National Party (NNP) forms the government after next year’s general elections, Grenadians can rest assured that it will not take the island into any austerity measures to be administered by the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“I personally will not take this country to an IMF programme. I believe that an NNP government has more discipline, greater discipline, in terms of fiscal responsibility (than the current National Democratic Congress government”, he said, adding that, “this government (NDC) has demonstrated a lack of discipline.
Boatswain charged that Grenada is presently in an economic and financial crisis as evidenced by the administration’s inability to meet its obligations to employees, pensioners and recipients of public assistance on a timely basis.
In presenting the 2012 budget in March, Finance Minister Nazim Burke promised to disclose within two months the source of funds to finance the budget.
Burke outlined current expenditure of $457.8 million, Capital expenditure of $235.2 million, Principal Repayments on debts of $404.8 million.
Boatswain blasted the Finance Minister for failing to give the Grenadian people the promised answers on the finances to be raised for the budget.
He said the NDC-led government is on its way to bankruptcy, a point he claimed to have warned the administration about with the presentation of unrealistic budgets and pursuing the wrong sets of macro-economic policies since 2008.
He accused the Tillman Thomas-led government of implementing polices that have served to deepen the economic recession.
Boatswain is contending that the NDC administration has implemented a series of bad measures that have served to increase government’s current expenditure especially on wages for political appointees, unnecessary traveling by government ministers and officials and the unnecessary expansion in government bureaucracy by creating additional ministries and departments at a time when the prevailing conditions suggests otherwise.
He said the situation has worsened due to cut backs on capital expenditure programmes, delayed implementation and in some cases cancellation of a number of private sector investor projects, and domestic and external borrowing to finance recurrent expenditure.
According to Boatswain, during the past four years, the Congress government of Prime Minister Thomas has not been able to realise any current surplus.
“Once you cannot generate a current surplus it means that you are in essence a bankrupt government”, he said.
Boatswain urged government not to blame the global recession for Grenada’s economic woos since it is only one aspect of the island’s financial situation.
He accused the NDC administration of poor management of the country’s fiscal situation and took swipe at Congress for using the state-run National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and PetroCaribe as cash cows.
Boatswain did not give any figures to back his claims of government borrowing from NIS and PetroCaribe.
The former government minister urged the Thomas government to display greater fiscal responsibility in terms of its current spending.
He also offered a few suggestions to government such as seeking assistance from friendly countries, and to get some help from the IMF.