Opposition legislator Mark Vanterpool has posited that laws should be implemented to force the government to build the territory’s financial reserves by saving a certain amount every year, despite the financial constraints that may exist.
Where there are deficits, Vanterpool said the government should borrow loans to run these gaps. He said this is a smart, fiscal strategy used by many within the business community.
“There’s a method that many business people [and] many rich people use. You save your money and spend other people’s money. How do you become resilient and independent is that you save your money and spend other people’s money. We need to think about that statement I just made. I put this proposal to the previous government of which I was a part and I’m putting it again to this government — save and borrow,” Vanterpool expressed in the December 4 sitting of the House of Assembly.
Less reliance on UK
He added that building the territory’s reserves is one way to become economically independent and less reliant on the UK government under normal circumstances and in times of crises.
“The days when we were collecting three to four hundred million, we should have been putting aside more of that money and borrowing more to accomplish our infrastructural development. We need to be able to some day wake up and see half a billion dollars sitting in an investment account so that nobody can tell us that we can’t run our own affairs. I’m not talking about Social Security money because that’s not the government’s, that’s the people’s trust money.”
“I’m talking about the government, every year, putting aside 20 25 million dollars regardless of how difficult it is, make the sacrifice. Twenty years from now, we could have half a billion dollars sitting in some investment fund that you can then tell the United Kingdom. ‘I have economic independence’,” Vanterpool explained.
The BVI government borrows from various sources to run its economy and expects to get some and $14 million in loans to fill the 2021 budget.
The government has further allocated $12,495,400 towards the repayment of debt.
And despite moving into the third year since the United Kingdom offered to become a loan guarantor to the British Virgin Islands, Premier Andrew Fahie said he is optimistic the people of the territory will still benefit from the offer.
The Premier said the conditions of the UK’s £300 million loan guarantee offer is still being negotiated.
“I can’t say anything about the plan going forward because we are very optimistic that we would be able to work out the areas of concern in the terminology with the conditions because most of them have already been,” Premier Fahie said.
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