February 19, 2020

The Editor speaks: Inflation seems to be the only blot and challenge


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Colin Wilson

It was good news, more good news and even more good news when our Minister of Finance, Roy McTaggart, when he gave his next three years core government forecast in the Legislative Assembly last Friday (12).

He gave plenty of figures to back up the good news to support the government’s Strategic Policy Statement (SPS).

Government is forecast to have operating surpluses of near or over $100 million, because Cayman’s economy will continue to grow by at least 2% per year from now until 2022.

This will be achieved without the necessity to increase taxes or borrow money. The revenue we will earn will be enough to finance its operations, capital projects and pay down the public debt.

Great news. Not that you would think so from the doom adverts broadcasts every day to get listeners and viewers to tune in to Rooster’s talk show that is simultaneously aired on Cayman27.

We are falling apart from corruption that is everywhere, is the cry amongst the rest of the bad news without one figure to back up all this gloom.

McTaggart, however, backed his good news with facts and figures tin abundance.

He said, “Our main goal is to manage our expenses in a sustainable manner that allows us to efficiently deliver our services to the high standard expected.”

He predicted government would have operating surpluses of $94.9 million in 2020, $109.2 million in 2021 and $90.1 million in 2022.

Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), should grow by 2.2% in 2020, 2.1% in 2021, and 2.0% in 2022.

Core government should be able to collect approx. $829.1 million in 2020, $851 million in 2021 and $836.9million in 2022. This is against expenditure expected at $734.2 million in 2020, $741.7 million in 2021, and $746.8 million in 2022.

And unemployment should stay below 4% during this time period. This is because of the predicted rise in economic growth.

The only blot in all this is that ugly word inflation. McTaggart admitted this will be a challenge. Government would be keeping all the reductions already in place to help the economy.

“By keeping in place these import duty reductions, the government is doing its part to keep retail prices as low as possible, thereby keeping the cost of living for households and the cost of doing business as low as possible,” he said.

Unfortunately, he did not hit out at our electrical provider, CUC, who upped the costs of electricity to their consumers and boasted of a bigger profits they could hand down to their shareholders. Nor at the building contractors whose prices have increased so their profits can increase, too.

These savings are not being passed onto us and no one seems to ask why not, except North Side MLA, Ezzard Miller.

And where has that got him?

There is no doubt the purchasing value of our monies is decreasing every year but that fact has only been given a glance and the words “a challenge”.

Mr. McTaggart should ask the elderly, the unemployed, the pensioners, etc. what the word ‘challenge’ really means.

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