Whose interest does KPMG serve?

Whose interest does KPMG serve?
Photo : Dushyant Sookram

I read with interest an article “KPMG: Budget offers hope” by Clint Chan Tack in the Newsday dated October 07, 2018.

Dushyant Sookram, representative of KPMG, was very optimistic of the budget.  He said that “global growth slated to reach 3.8 per cent in 2018 and 3.9 per cent in 2019….” Sookram needs to appreciate that we are talking about T&T, not the global economy. And if the global economy for oil is optimistic, then he owes the population an explanation why the current government is shutting down its oil refining operations?

Sookram mentioned a 2.20 per cent growth rate in the energy sector this year. Is this the truth? The government has been saying all along that Petrotrin is losing money and is unable to pay revenue to the government. Who is speaking the truth? Ms Persaud- Bissessar has demonstrated in her budget response that Petrotrin paid $20B in taxes when her government was in power. Dushyant Sookram must clear the air on these data shared by the Opposition Leader before he attempts to embrace the 2018/19 budget of the PNM.

Photo : Kamla Persad-Bissessar

I would like Dushyant Sookram to point out the industries in the non-oil manufacturing sector that is contributing to this 7.3 per cent growth. Also, where are the areas that would be contributing to the non-oil revenue of $35.197 billion? I think he should share it with citizens so that they can buy stocks and bonds in these industries. Is agriculture contributing to this non-oil sector growth?

I regret to note that Sookram has nothing to say about the continued low allocation of the budget to the agricultural sector. I would have hoped that Sookram would enlighten the population why the agricultural sector once again has to be under-funded, with limited or no role to play in our economic recovery. Would Sookram agree with me that the reason why agriculture continues to suffer from low budgetary allocation is because the government wants to continue protecting the food importers?

Sookram should have addressed the concerns and questions raised by the Opposition Leader in her budget response. Is it true that the economy has contracted in the last 3 years? Kamla Persad-Bissessar pointed out that the GDP for 2015 moved from $170.4 B to $159.26 B in 2019, a decrease of $11.2B. The Opposition Leader charged that the economy contracted by 6.5 per cent in the last three years and that the claim of an increase in revenue is due to a 30.7 per cent increase in taxes. Is that true Mr Sookram?

Photo : Colm Imbert

How does the KPMG’s representative address the borrowing of $20 billion within the last three years, thus sending our Debt to GDP ratio from 47.8 per cent in 2015 to 61 per cent in 2018.  If this government is doing well then how does Sookram explain this increase in servicing debt?

Has Sookram refuted the charge by the Opposition Leader that foreign direct investment was $855m US in 2014/5 and that in 2016/7 instead of inflow of investment, more than $398 million US has left the country?

If KPMG has to earn the respect of the citizens it would be imperative for it to address these concerns raised by the Opposition Leader. Dushyant Sookram claim that the budget offers hope is to shy away from addressing fundamental problems in the economy.