Agri. Minister says borrowing ‘necessary’ because of ‘unhealthy treasury’ left by APNU+AFC
The government’s decision to finance a portion of the 2021 National Budget through loans has once again come in for criticism by the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Parliamentary Opposition but Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha says borrowing at this time is necessary.
According to the minister, this is so because of the unhealthy state in which the treasury was handed over to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government when it came to office in August 2020.
“You [the APNU+AFC government] didn’t have to borrow because you received a healthy treasury and economy, you didn’t have to borrow but look at what we [the PPP/C government] received. The Minister of Finance will tell you,” he said.
Mustapha told the House that the treasury had a deficit and was bankrupt when the PPP/C took office.
“There were no funds in the country… that’s the reality.”
Mustapha was responding to former Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, who during his contribution to the ongoing 2021 budget debates on Wednesday condemned the government for reversing several tax measures put in place by the former APNU+AFC while resorting to borrowing to finance the $383.1 billion budget, “the largest budget ever.”
“The government is simply not spending in accordance with its means,” Ramjattan added.
Ramjattan told the government MPs in the House that they should not get into the habit of borrowing, reasoning that it will burden citizens in years to come.
It was under the APNU+AFC government that heavy debt was taken on the overdraft facilities despite hundreds of taxes being implemented by the previous regime. It would be reasoned that the taxes had help to cripple the cash and growth in the economy that led to the massive overdraft.