Princes Town MP, Barry Padarath, is calling on Finance Minister Colm Imbert to address the Government’s debt to both T&TEC and WASA, when he reads the Budget on October 2nd, 2023, in the House of Representatives.
In a media release, Padarath said that in order for both WASA and T&TEC to survive, the government must settle its outstanding arrears to both companies amounting in the billions of dollars.
He further asserted that, “Any move to pass on this burden created by the government to consumers would be resisted.”
The Opposition Shadow Minister for Public Utilities indicated that for the past several years, when the government was questioned at the Standing Finance Committee stage of the budget process in the Parliament on the issue of arrears, assurances were given that the debts would be adequately serviced. He observed that this has not materialized.
The MP said the Finance Minister must articulate on the 2nd of October, “a clear path to addressing the debts of the State to critical institutions.” He added:
“These debts have the State Companies in the dire situation that they are in today.”
MP Padarath said the government must indicate what their payment plan is, and noted that the budget presentation would be the best opportunity to do so.
The Princes Town MP maintains that the budget, “should not be used to impose further hardship on citizens particularly in the public utilities sector, especially when citizens are already being asked to pay for a service that many of them do not satisfactorily receive.”
He further stated that as a matter of policy, the government should not implement any new rates for WASA and T&TEC at this time, but instead “make the State Companies viable and sustainable organizations by paying their debts to them, therefore getting them out of the red.”
MP Padarath called on the government to also clearly articulate how it intends to boost water production nationally, in light of the continuing water crisis, as well as major infrastructure works to the utility sector.