Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No shortage of funds for food production ministry: Devant

The Minister of Food Production, Devant Maharaj, issued a media release Wednesday expressing disappointments over statements made by the Director of the Caribbean Center for Competitiveness (UWI), Indera Sagewan-Alli, concerning the Ministry of Food Production’s allocations and initiatives in Fiscal 2013.

The minister called Sagewan-Alli statements mischievous, noting that the Centre's position is intended to erode the confidence of the local agricultural community in Government’s fiscal planning strategies. 

"As Miss Sagewan-Alli should be aware, under previous administrations, an abundance of funding did not result in a competitive agricultural sector in T&T," he said.

The minister's release noted that there is an actual variance of $188 million between the allocation for agriculture between 2012 and 2013. However he said that doesn't not represent a shortfall in the real sense since some agencies are no longer within the ministry.

He pointed out that in 2012 the Estate Management Business Development company (EMBD) alone, which is now in the Housing Ministry, received $115 million. Marine Affairs has also been removed from food production.

The minister also clarified the position of the removal of VAT, noting that the change would increase the demand for commodities, not international brands. 

"Instead of seeking to create paranoia over an influx of imports, it would have been more tasteful for institutions such as the CCC to assist in domestic capacity building," Maharaj said. 

"This would entail the realization of a healthier effective demand and the opportunity for local private sector to now move resources into the production and supply of more value-added products which could compete in satisfying the potentially expanded market demand."

The minister added, "It is unfortunate that some of the country’s technical due diligence has gone into paralysis analysis instead of seeking to motivate and educate the population as to how best we can reap maximum rewards with limited resources."

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai