‘Shellote’ and a ‘bag of groceries’ – Nima Flue-Bess opens Budget Debate for Opposition

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School teacher Nima Flue-Bess opened the 2023 Budget Debate for the Opposition benches on Monday in the National Assembly but did not specifically attack any of the proposed spending in the $781.9 billion budget.

Flue-Bess, who sits on the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on the Security Sector, did not mention a word about the sector or any associated spending proposed in the budget.

She started her presentation by singing the words of the National Song “Onward, Upward” and then displayed sheets of paper with what she said were calculations of the real value of the government’s cash grants when considering the 7.2 percent inflation rate. She even referred to the jump in price for eschalot last year.

The increase to public sector workers was eight per cent last year. Inflation refers to the increase in the price of goods and services and in a particular period. To have the same buying power, a person’s salary must increase at the same rate or greater.

Regarding budget measures, Flue-Bess criticised increases to pensioners and others as “pittances” and that they be given “a bag of groceries with the pension.”

“These are the things we look at,” Flue-Bess stated.

This year’s budget is 41.4 per cent larger than the previous year.

“Budget 2023 strikes a balance between addressing the pressing needs of today and the critical investments needed for tomorrow, ensuring that both are attended to,” Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh said during his budget presentation.

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