Following the reading of the 2020/2021 budget, most economists and business organisations have generally given the Government good marks for the impressive balancing act they have performed, in what was always going to be a two loaves and three fishes budget.
Credit was given for both proposed revenue raising measures like the sale of some state enterprises, the final push to create the Revenue Authority, liberalisation of the fuel market, the increased financial allocation to agriculture and the coming digitisation of the public service.
On the expenditure side, there have been prudent cuts to all major areas of expenditure, a sensible rise in the tax threshold to benefit all, but especially low income earners and a firm promise to build 25,000 houses in the next 10 years.
Now, there are two important areas in which Government must make a huge effort to improve their effectiveness, and these are :
1. A quantum leap in the ease of doing business by speeding up the delivery of approvals from Town and Country Planning, WASA, T&TEC, OSHA, Fire Department and all Regional Corporations and
2. We urgently need to identify additional revenue raising measures and in this regard, I would like to strongly suggest that the Government reimpose all taxes on the purchase of vehicles for Parliamentarians, as this measure would raise much needed revenue for the treasury.
In addition, given the dire financial situation so many citizens find themselves in through the devastation wrought by COVID-19, enacting this measure of self sacrifice by our political elite would show really strong, reassuring leadership and a true sharing of the burden of adjustment.