“Protecting lives and promoting the economy in the face of covid-19 is the ultimate aim of the 2021 National Budget”, according to the Minister of Finance and Treasury, Harry Kuma.
Delivering his summary speech on the 2021 budget debate in Parliament yesterday, Kuma acknowledge all those that have prepared the budget under very difficult circumstances brought about by the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on the country.
Kuma said the DGCA government is conscious of the many challenges facing the country and is fully committed to address them in a systematic manner.
These challenges include feeding, clothing, educating and protecting the country’s young and growing population.
To mitigate these structural constraints, Kuma said the country needs to consider policies and investments that would reduce the costs of providing public services, build infrastructures, reduce transportation costs and facilitate the integration with markets.
“This will require creating a favorable private sector investment climate and at the same time facilitate the diversification of the economy through increased private sector investments in both the productive and resource sectors,” Kuma said.
This year’s budget is prepared on the theme “Towards a Path to Economic Recovery: Advancing Growth and Service” with emphasis on the two key objectives to protect people from the spread of COVID-19 and to keep the economy afloat and to accelerate economic recovery.
Although the Government continues to contain COVID-19, the economic damage it had caused is immense and must be addressed head-on. In these challenging times, the government had acted decisively to protect families and workers from the spread of COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 war is not yet over. Every crisis and economic downturn is different. So we should, to the best of our ability make sound diagnosis of the current challenges, and apply a decisive course of action to avoid further spread of COVID-19,” Kuma said.
The second objective of the 2021 Budget is to advance economic growth and accelerate the economic recovery process. The most compelling argument for economic growth is the link to improved services delivery to our people and employment creation for our growing population.
“The government cannot deliver the much-needed social and economic services that our people desire when the economy is under the water. It is therefore relevant to redirect our attention and focus on accelerating the recovery process and growth,” Kuma said.
“In doing so, it is crucial that we reallocate resources to the strategic sources of growth in both the productive and resource sectors; and ensure that essential services are protected,” he added.
Kuma cautioned that COVID-19 would not be the last challenge that the country will face.
“When COVID19 will eventually pass, we will continue to face the longer-term structural challenges of a young population, technological and infrastructure inadequacy, social inequality, and climate change. We will continue to face sudden and unexpected situations such as new virus outbreaks, threats to our security, or financial crises,” he said.
“As a responsible government, we must ensure the nation has the resources to meet these challenges and unexpected events, so that present and future generations have the capacity to survive and thrive. We must always be ready to provide for both our current needs and our future,” he added.