Minister of Finance Colm Imbert
FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert has slammed Caroni Central Member of Parliament Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie saying he does not understand basic economics.
Imbert also mocked Tewarie, who is a former principal of the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), saying that he (Imbert) will give back his UWI degree.
During his wind-up to the 2020 Budget debate in the Parliament on Wednesday, Imbert said UWI was “going to the dogs.”
He said, “Listen to what the Member for Caroni Central had to say: ‘The GDP going down, the debt going up, so how could our debt-to-GDP ratio decrease?’
“I am ashamed. I want to give back my degree to the University of the West Indies. I am ashamed.”
Imbert said, “Anybody worth his salt, anybody who has any iota of understanding of fiscal and monetary policy, would be aware that our debt-to-GDP ratio is based on our nominal GDP and not on our constant GDP.
“So you can’t look at the constant GDP figure and divide it by the debt to get the debt-to-GDP ratio. You have to take our nominal GDP.”
He said, “Any first-year student of economics will know that this is how you measure your debt-to-GDP ratio.
“That why I’m ashamed. I want to give back my degree. That institution (UWI) has gone to the dogs.”
Imbert said despite budget deficits, the Government had kept the debt-to-GDP ratio constant over the past two years, at 61/62 per cent.