Prevost

“The budget presented for the year ahead, 2011/2012, which is also meant to report on the Governments performance for the year past, 2010/2011, and which failed to present the accompanying Director of Audit report for two years ago, that is 2009/2010, portends serious failures within the government’s financial system,”
Roseau MP Norris Prevost has said.

According to Prevost the public debt as reported in the budget, does not include the huge amount government owes to Venezuela, under the  Petro Caribe program where fuel is supplied on credit.

“When this is taken into consideration, the Dominica’s government debt/GDP ratio could well snowball to the region of about 100 percent.  Having failed to present the audited accounts for 2009/ 2010, on p 12 of 2010/2011, government states as follows: ‘..in terms of the fiscal year 2009-2010 I can report that our debt to GDP ratio now stands at 72 percent,'” he stated.

Prevost continued, “GDP for 2009/2010 current prices in memo on  p15 of 2009/2010 budget is reported to be $1,126-million whilst in 2010/ 2011 budget to be S1,309.9-million. The failure to present to  Parliament the audited accounts for the 2009/2010 financial year, and the seeming inconsistencies in these data, raises serious questions of credibility about the government’s statement on p 15 of the 2011/2012 budget, that its debt to GDP ratio as at June 2011 is 55.8 percent, especially when, according to information published by the same government, it has contracted loans of $100-million from China directly to government, and well close to another $100-million from the AID Bank, from Venezuela, CDB and EIB.”

According to the MP, in 2003 Dominica, with a debt to GDP ratio of 130 percent and a worsening negative growth rate, found itself in the clutches of an IMF stabilization and debt restructuring program, which lead to public servants salaries being cut by 5 percent and a stabilization being levied on all income earners.  He said that as predicted, Dominica’s economy got worse before it got better, and at best, has remained in stagnation.

“Even the unaudited statement in the budget page 15 is reporting increase in government’s disbursed debt of $38-million.  Government needs to come clean in reporting of the public debt. Government must be transparent and accountable, especially in the matter of reporting the public debt,” he said.