Mariano sees 'massive drop' in foreign investment
Former People's National Movement (PNM) minister in the Ministry of Finance Mariano Browne on Tuesday criticised the Government for the massive drop in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) under their watch.
Browne said foreign investment took a 90 per cent nose-dive from $2.8 billion to $295 million and said the two cancelled international contracts with Brazil and China were key to the significant losses.
"It affects all of us. We are facing bread and butter issues. They cancelled the smelter, they cancelled the OPV's (Offshore Patrol Vessels)... When you cancel contracts and replace it with nothing, will those countries want to do business with us again?" Browne asked.
Speaking at the PNM rally in Arima on Tuesday night, Browne said when the PNM demitted office in 2010, the party left on the backdrop of economic growth and a PNM manifested boom.
"That boom was the result of a deliberate change in the strategy by the PNM, a deliberate change in policy," he said. He said the change occurred when the then Government started exporting natural gas.
"All of a sudden, natural gas export is facing difficulty. Things are not looking good for us," he said.
Browne said the same property tax that formed part of the campaign against the PNM back in 2010 has now resurfaced under the People's Partnership Government.
"Remember that same tax that they said would pauperise the country? They now saying that it is too much revenue to lose," he said.
He said the country was facing the challenge of a continued budget deficits.
"We cannot afford five years of budget deficits. That cannot continue. We need to find a way to increase Foreign Direct Investment and we need to find a way to get local investment going. But that is not taking place," he said.
"The People's Partnership said we were on a slippery slope, but what have they done? We have had much promises and no performance from them," he said.