Chamber: No Stimulus For Economy If We Have Debts
East New Britain Chamber of Commerce president David Stein is urging the National Government to revisit and align financial priorities in the light of the global pandemic.
Mr Stein is concerned that the National Government still has a lot of unpaid debts that may go further than four or five years but yet continue to raise the expectations of many small businesses about providing a stimulus package for the economy.
Mr Stein said at this instance it seems impossible for any stimulus package for the economy unless the government settles its old outstanding debt.
“I’m a little bit afraid that the government, to a large degree, has lost its way and forgotten what its primary purpose is.
“Collecting taxes and providing services to its people is the sort of thing the government should be doing for its people,” said Mr Stein.
He said that it is almost like the government has become more envious of businesses or feeling that businesses are doing too well that it thinks it could actually do better than collecting taxes by getting into businesses themselves.
“We actually see this in many places where our National Government and Provincial Government actually wanting to get into business and involving themselves but do not have the same drive like the private sectors have,” he said.
Mr Stein said the private sector always faces a sink or swim situation simply meaning that their revenue has to exceed their expenditure or they are likely to go out of business.
He said with the government they have got the backup of charging taxes.
Mr Stein said that what businesses are seeing lately is an increase in the charges that the government is charging but a reduction in the services that it is providing.
“This can be seen with Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited (MVIL) where heavy vehicle registration has gone up 250 per cent in the last couple of years.
You are paying two and a half times registration of a truck more than two or three years ago, said Mr Stein.
“We are paying more and at the same time the roads are still in their worst than they have ever been.
“The National and Provincial Government wanting more money are charging more but are not fixing the drains and roads in the province,” he said.