Sunday 7 June, 2020

Lee: Government failing manufacturing sector

Government is being accused of abandoning its responsibility of protecting the nation's economic framework in light of a trade deal with Venezuela to provide goods to that country.  

The accusation comes from United National Congress (UNC) Chairman David Lee who says Government continues to fail the manufacturing sector, as he says some manufacturers have not yet been paid for goods delivered to Venezuela, which forms part of the 2016 agreement.

Lee expressed concern over the trade deal as he says compensation for the delivery of goods has not been forthcoming.

He says the agreement was always a matter of concern to the Opposition given the economic hardship being experienced by the Venezuelan Government as well as Government's “track-record of   incompetence”.

Lee says he posed questions to the Trade Minister on several occasions in his capacity as Pointe a Pierre MP to ascertain whether manufacturers were being paid in a timely manner.

On each occasion, the response given was the same - some payments were still being received for shipped goods.

The UNC Chairman says it is therefore unacceptable that a year after these questions were first posed and over two years since goods were first shipped to Venezuela manufacturers have not been adequately compensated.

Lee says the Trade Minister has to take full responsibility for the non-payment to the manufacturers.

“The full blame for this scenario must be placed at the feet of the Minister of Trade and Industry; Paula Gopee-Scoon who was quite enthusiastic when this project was launched but yet months after, when the public relations and political mileage were maximised we have heard of no further steps to ensure all outstanding payments are collected.

This was a government to government initiative and therefore certain questions must be asked; “Why has the Minister failed to take a trade delegation to Venezuela to have this issue sorted? Did Government, knowing that Venezuela would not be able to keep its financial commitment just use our manufacturers as a bargaining tool to gain access to Venezuelan natural gas?”

The UNC Chairman says given the non-payments to manufacturers, the nation must remain vigilant and find no comfort in the signing of the Dragon Gas Deal which took place yesterday in Venezuela as it could be about Public relations and political gimmicks. 


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