Barker says State bent on business

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AN economist says the 2018 budget is a clear indication that the Government is serious about growing the economy and boosting the country’s business environment.
Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker was commenting on the budget tabled by Deputy Prime Minister
and Treasurer Charles Abel yesterday.
“The major component of what the budget is trying to achieve is trying to provide the confidence in the business sector to encourage them to feel more secure and therefore to reinvest, or to be ready to invest if they have been deferring to do investments, to encourage them. But in some cases, to cajole them into bringing foreign exchange into the country,” he said.
Barker told The National during the budget lock-up that the Government had realised “that if
you don’t create the right environment, and if you have too many unstable, insecure policies, you are going to frighten the business sector away”.
“They have been having a hard time paying taxes,” Barker said.
“Some of them may have been avoiding taxes as well and we have been giving them exemptions from tax, or exclusive tax deals or there are certain companies that have found ways to circumvent it particularly in the resource sector. But nevertheless, the aim is to grow the economy.”
Barker said after all, the objective was not about the Government getting the money.
“It’s about getting the economy to grow so that everyone can participate, so jobs can be created. And in that process, the Government will be able to collect its share on behalf of its population so it can deliver goods and services that is needed,” he said.
“It needs to provide, again to enable the private sector and to be able to invest again and grow the economy.”
Barker said some of the problems that we’ve had was because
revenue generation was low in relation to the overall economic activity.
“We’ve also got a poor quality
of expenditure so the Govern-
ment does waste a lot of money,” he said.

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