By EDDIE OSIFELO
FORMER Prime Minister, Rick Hou urges the government to take drastic policy actions to address what he described as the “slippery uphill climb in the economy”.
Speaking at the sine die motion in Parliament last Wednesday, Mr Hou said the domestic economy relies entirely on our exports and trade sector performing profitably.
“I would like to believe the Minister’s assessment that there is a brighter outlook for the economy in the medium to long term,” Hou said.
“However, indications are that this situation may be worse, especially in terms of the final turn out for government revenues this year,” he added.
Furthermore, Hou, the MP for Small Malaita, said without the benefit of a financial report on the 2020 Budget mid-term budget review, it is difficult to ascertain the actual cash flow situation at the Treasury.
“But from anecdotal information it would appear the Minister’s revenue projections for a decline of seven percent this year may be the real trend, where all main revenue sources projected to decline.
“The actual turn out is obviously worse than expected,” he said.
Moreover, Hou said as he pointed out during his contribution on the 2020 Budget, while he agrees with the Minister for Finance on his forecast for real GDP growth in 2020, he’s not sure even such a subdued growth forecast will come from.
“Sir, I have also argued that the economic assumptions for the 2020 Budget are weak.
“And sadly, it is obvious this could be the actual turn out for 2020,” the former Central Bank governor said.
On reform, Hou expressed his support towards the Government’s reform agenda.
“Sir, last year I expressed in this Chamber, my strong support for the DCC Government reforms agenda.
“I have said on previous occasions, that I am eagerly looking forward to discussing policies and legislations to forge nation-building, reinvigorate an efficient government machinery; to enhance political stability; to fight corruption, and to provide an enabling environment for investment and private sector growth,” he added.