Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo said it took 51 years and four governments to borrow up to $30 billion under the Development Loans Act, but the current government has borrowed double of this figure.
Speaking at the opposition press conference on Sunday, Tancoo said the government was passing the bill on to future generations.
“They live today by mortgaging the future of the children. If the debt is divided equally, each person will owe more than $100,000.
Tancoo was referring to a statement Friday by Finance Minister Colm Imbert in parliament, in which Imbert said the government would be able to increase its borrowing limit from $55 billion to $65 billion for development. general under the Development Loans Act.
Tancoo said plans announced by Imbert for tougher penalties for offenses under the Praedial Theft Prevention, Summary Offenses, Control of Tobago, Children, State Lands and Minerals Acts were all part of minister’s plans to tax, amend and borrow.
“The fines the minister was talking about already exist. How many people have been arrested and brought to justice for these crimes? Higher fines were worthless to the citizens of this country if no one is brought to justice.
Tancoo also faulted the Imberts for not providing more funds to the Ministry of Agriculture to help with praedial flight patrols. He said farmers could contribute more to the economy if they didn’t have to worry about this problem.
“In the last budget, $500 million was set aside for an agricultural recovery plan. Since then, $57 million has been paid to the Minister of Agriculture for the basket program, which has been plagued by allegations of corruption. That means the finance minister is sitting on $443 million, which could be used to hire more officers from the predial robber squad and buy additional vehicles and equipment to help farmers make faced with this problem.
Also speaking at the press conference, Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes criticized the government for its handling of the energy sector. She wondered if the liberalization of the fuel market would really be an advantage for the inhabitants of TT. Referring to the formula announced by Imbert for a fuel levy, she called for a discussion on the subject.
“Are we going to benefit from competition and have a truly liberal market? Where will the competitors come from? Will NP be an active player? Will it become a bulk oil distributor? Some parts of its fleet are already outsourced.
“Even though it’s supposed to be paid by retailers, I’m sure it would be rolled into the price paid at the pump. The funds collected through the tax should be directly invested in improving infrastructure.
“The state of our roads has never been worse. It’s ridiculous to talk about the fuel market when you’re being asked to drive halfway. Spend it in a way that citizens can see the benefits. The government has not been able to say how citizens will benefit, but they arbitrarily say they will see lower prices. If you are going to adopt a new policy, come up with all the details in advance. Inventing it as you go will not be enough.
Tancoo also had questions for TSTT, Imbert and Public Services Minister Marvin Gonzales based on a note he said “went up” in his mailbox.
“This is a memo from TSTT to an admin that reads, “TSTT would like to advise that it has selected a FinTech Partner based on the related/received proposals in relation to the Expression of Interest ( EOI) above.
“‘As a result, the FinTech component of the EOI is now closed, just to repeat, the FinTech component of the EOI is now closed. Notwithstanding the above, please note that TSTT continues to evaluate the other components of the EOI and will communicate on pricing for the same, shortly after this is determined. TSTT thanks you for your interest in doing business with us. Sincerely, Sourcing Services.”
Tancoo said that having worked in a multibillion-dollar company, this approach didn’t align with his understanding of core procurement practices.
“The basic practice in procurement is the creation of specifications, the request for expressions of interest, either from known suppliers or in public, the review of these expressions of interest and their evaluation, to assess the capability and capability of suppliers, then issuing a formal tendering process, evaluating those bids, negotiations and then awarding the bid.
“I’ve never heard of a contract being awarded based solely on an expression of interest, especially if there are multiple potential supporters.”
“So I have to ask the directors of TSTT, the CEO of TSTT, the managers of TSTT, the Ministry of Public Services and the Ministry of Finance, who owns all this: is this price real? is, then clearly someone or anyone of these entities must be held accountable because these are not the funds of TSTT, these are funds that belong to the taxpaying citizens of TT.
In a response posted later on Sunday, TSTT said, “TSTT is committed to strong and transparent business and sourcing practices. The Company would like to reiterate that it strictly adheres to its Board-approved sourcing procedures. administration. the selection of a FinTech partner that was referenced at a recent press conference, and that there were no breaches of TSTT’s procurement processes.”
Phone calls and messages to Gonzales were not returned.