Sylvia Sutherland on the budget
February 12, 2010

Sylvia Sutherland on the budget

The 2010 National Budget has “come with a little bit more than” what Vincentians “can afford”.

This is the position of Sylvia Sutherland, one of this country’s leading Accountants and Financial Advisors.{{more}}

Giving an analysis of the Budget on Wednesday, February 3, 2010, at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC), Sutherland spoke of shortcomings in the budget, as well as opportunities it presents for the private sector.

She said Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves has indicated that his administration has adopted a countercyclical policy since 2001. However, “in our economies I don’t know that we have the will power to do things like that.”

A countercyclical approach involves cooling down the economy when it is in an upswing, and stimulating it when it is in a downturn.

“We really don’t have the means to manipulate our economy, and if we use some policies to inject things, it will just go out the door and it doesn’t have a great effect on the economy,” said Sutherland.

She added: “I don’t know how the countercyclical policy is working because what I have seen in the Budget is that the government has shifted things from one area to another.”

Sutherland said if the money is not found somewhere Vincentians won’t be able to spend.

She stated she has not seen any direct incentives for the business sector or reduction in taxes.

“I may be wrong,” said Sutherland.

“The government is between a rock and a hard place,” said Sutherland.

She, however, noted that efforts are being put into creating an environment to foster opportunities for business persons.

She emphasized that the widening of the safety net areas is one area in which the Government cannot be faulted.

Sutherland advised the CIC to join forces with the government, and to take opportunities wherever they are.

“Politicians would talk. The Government would say it’s a great budget; The opposition would say it’s a bad budget. We all know the truth is somewhere in between,” said Sutherland.

“The hope of the Government is that the private sector will see the opportunities which are being stated and position itself to take advantage of it,” said Sutherland.

Meanwhile, Sutherland said the CIC needs to seek a place at VINLEC’s table to work along with the company to see greater adjustments to the commercial rates.

“Everyone here knows, as I said, electricity bills are really a hindrance to development. It’s a necessary thing, but expensive,” said Sutherland.