Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has challenged the Andrew Fahie-led government to make the real state of the BVI’s economy public.
He said it is vital for the people to have this information so the territory can make any necessary budget corrections, find ways to cut costs, develop achievable revenue streams, among other things.
“At this stage of almost six months of COVID-19, it is imperative that the government report to the people on the state of the economy. Among the existing mechanisms to monitor and measure the performance of the economy, as well as from all new programmes, we have a wealth of information available,” Penn said via a statement on Thursday.
He continued: “We need to understand how much our economy has diminished. We need to know how many jobs have been lost, we need to know how many businesses have been closed. We need to know how much our revenues have declined, we need to know how much money we have spent, and the list goes on. And if there are any silver linings, we need to know this too.”
Long term plan needed
The Opposition Leader said unity is crucial at this point and with this information, the territory can better manage its finances, implement budget corrections where necessary, and find ways to cut costs even if it is temporarily.
Penn then called for a long term economic plan for the territory to help the BVI to co-exist with COVID-19.
“It is critical that in all our plans that our economy remains central. The preservation of life and health is impossible without the preservation and development of our economy. I have previously offered a number of suggestions, some specific to sub-sectors, others relative to financial stimulus, and other support. The ideas are boundless from me, other members of the Opposition, the business community, the general public, other countries and nations. We just need to commit to the process and apply the resources to achieve it,” he said.
He added: “A clear and well-articulated national plan will help to restore confidence about the future, enhance our peace of mind, allow us at an individual and collective level to proceed in putting our own plans in place to rebuild our lives and our livelihoods. It will provide a clear road map for what we are to expect and how we are to react as we enter the various stages of this crisis, without panicking ourselves or creating panic in our community.”
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