by Zena Henry
Indicating a deliberate act to scare business operators and investors, Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman has dismissed insinuations that the country is heading towards an economic slump.
Trotman formally addressed the issue which was brought to the fore by the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) more than one week ago.
He told a press conference at Ministry of the Presidency Wednesday July 15 that the normal electoral jitters would have continued after the elections, but suggested that it would be going overboard to speak of a recession.
He said that based on the alarming statements by the PPPC and questions being posed by sections of the business sector, government is prepared to sit with them to identify areas where they think the economy has slowed down and why.
He said, “Government is prepared to sit with the business community to work out how the economy could be stimulated.”
He said, “Prior to elections what we had was the normal electoral jitters. These continued afterwards to some extent, and then of course we had sabre rattling from Venezuela which did not necessarily help, but we are not in a bad shape…” he pointed out.
“There are some jitters and we don’t want to feed into the belief that we are in any recession or heading in into a recession or anything of the sort. We are not accepting that we are in a recession or anywhere near…”
Trotman said that the Minister of Business, the Finance Minister and President have been meeting with different stakeholders to see how things can be back on a faster track, as it is recognized that things may not be moving as fast as people may expect or want.
While he accepted that pay increases for public workers would help to increase spending within the economy, he declined to go into it given it’s the Finance Minister’s field. Trotman did note however that Cabinet Ministers are supportive of increases which would be a much anticipated feature within the Finance Minister’s budget and implemented after approval.
The Opposition had claimed the slowed economy saw little spending particularly on the part of the government which therefore saw less jobs and less spending on the part of citizens. They claimed sectors had slowed down and persons especially in the extractive and construction sectors were being laid off.
However the National budget is expected before August and the Opposition has already asked the question whether the country can wait so long for government to get the economy moving financially. They charged that should this slothful state last until year end, then a recession is unavoidable.