UNC warns of major social, economic challenges

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mayaro MP Rushton Paray – …

Mayaro MP Rushton Paray has issued an advisory to citizens to prepare for another period of major social and economic challenges.

In a New Year’s message, Paray said it was a time of reflection and review, excitement and emotion.

“While we indulge in the customs of the season, I ask that we brace for a 2023 of further decline in the national economy, expressed in weakening trade, contraction of the small-business sector and higher unemployment.”

He said despite “vacuous boasts” by Government, all economic sectors were in reverse gear while there were still no purposeful efforts to steer away from “the unreasonable dependence on the faltering energy industry.”

As the Opposition’s spokesman on trade and industry-related matters, Paray said, “Under this Government’s mismanagement, Trinidad and Tobago has slumped into a debt hellhole; the cost of borrowings is going up, and the foreign-exchange crisis is worsening.

“The country is enduring the worst inflation rate in 40 years and the forecast is for even higher food prices in 2023.”

Yet, he said, the Government has still not made any measurable efforts to stimulate agriculture and agro-processing, while floods routinely wipe out crops.

“The Government has refused to nurse the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector to its pre-covid19 era of 18,000 businesses, employing 250,000 workers and contributing 30 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“In one of the most appalling economic tumbles, the country has moved from a net recipient of US$1.5 billion in direct foreign investments in 2015, to investors fleeing at an average annual value of US$450 million.”

Doing business in TT remains a nightmare, he said, and the Government still refuses to use the efficiency-boosting single-window measures implemented by the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration.

“The digitisation of the public sector remains stalled despite TT being the only country in the region with a specifically-assigned government minister.

“The unchecked crime scourge is impacting society at all levels.”

He said SMEs were particularly hard hit by crime.

“The Government has not created the enabling environment for our manufacturers to deliver on their promise of doubling exports and venturing into new markets in the short term.

“Against that troubling backdrop and with a failed and visionless administration, TT is destined for a year of more economic hardship, including poverty and the disintegration of our middle class.”

He urged citizens to recommit themselves to their respective families, friends and communities, to stay safe, focused, ambitious, and purposeful.

“Trinidadians and Tobagonians have always displayed fierce resilience, abiding patriotism, and an invincible spirit.

“Those virtues would permit us to prevail through these tough times.

“I wish all of TT a New Year filled with promise, hope and a fighting spirit which will be required to weather the storms ahead.”