Govt must learn to live within its means


Most local and international commentators give our Government high marks for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, although, in seeking to achieve the best balance between protecting lives while earning livelihoods, we have certainly sacrificed the latter, in a big way, in favour of the former.

While on the subject of bread and butter, we, as a country have spent nearly $100 billion more than we have earned in the past six years.

This is absolutely unsustainable and the Government has to alter its course on this matter quickly or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be calling the shots here long before the end of its current five-year term.

As many others have outlined, there are few other fiscal options available now, apart from cutting the size of the Public Service, selling off inefficient loss-making State enterprises, raising the rates for power and water, and paring down the very high levels of transfers and subsidies.

On the revenue generating side, we urgently need to awaken the sleeping agricultural giant, while simultaneously unleashing our true tourism potential.

However, to successfully transform these two labour-intensive industries will take such a massive change in culture and attitude, that the timeline involved here will be in the region of ten-15 years.

Hopefully, enough of our talented and energetic business leaders will also spearhead the creation of other foreign exchange earning industries in the digital arena, while our manufacturing community can always be relied upon to keep growing at a steady clip.

Most of all, in a very small country and economy, we have completely run out of fiscal space to continue to borrow our way out of serious financial difficulties and we must now finally learn to live within our earning capacity.

Gregory Wight