“I want to thank the St Lucian people for their overall level of maturity,” Kenny Anthony said in the budget after outlining all the reasons we should burn shit down.
VAT. According to Kenny and those business people who make their money by importing stuff, VAT was part of the fiscal consolidation and streamlining, blahblahblah, nobody wants to hear it.
“There was a 95% compliance for filing.” Nobody wants to hear it.
“We’ve had some teething problems.” Laaawwd!!! The man was just determined to give us all the bad news one time. But you have to have some sympathy.
Curtailing capital expenditure after taking over the government from Guy Joseph’s Flambeau is no easy thing. The majority of projects left by the last government were not finished. Flambeau didn’t finish much of anything. And they left bills for their unfinished work, too.
|Y'all tink it easy?|
“Only 15% of the projects we’re undertaking were initiated by Labour.”
To make things worse, Flambeau gave public servants a huge increase, leaving Labour with a huge wages and salaries bill and a set of unions who imagined they could do the same to Kenny that they did to King and company. Losers!
Current wages and salaries amount to 43% of government’s recurrent expenditure. Add in the pensions and it goes up to 53.1%. Add in the Sir Arthur Lewis College and the Castries City Council and it goes up to almost 70%.
Something’s got to give. Any sensible, honest government is going to have to do some unpopular things and hope the witch hunters don’t burn their houses down in the middle of the night.
Fair warning. The cuts are going to start coming from the end of this year. Kenny promises no slash and burn. He promises to be delicate and surgical. But he promises that the cuts are going to come.
The IMF says we’re not competitive and productive. (Imagine that someone in the IMF got paid good money to tell us that. Now, tell me who is really unproductive.) Kenny tells us that sustainable growth is a partnership between the GOSL and the POSL. He kept the UWP’s Competitivity Council and is going to operationalize the technical office.
“We’re still the best place in the English-speaking Caribbean to do business,” Kenny encouraged.
But yet, we suck. And we all know it so well that he doesn’t have to say it.