A budget is a complete package and when you promise it, you are supposed to deliver everything in it. Unless there are exigent circumstances. So you are saying, we are building the second largest project ever in the country. How could you say we can’t deliver, but the fact is, as big as that project is Madam Speaker, it is still only one project and it does not affect people’s daily lives in the way that bad roads, drains and the jetties affect them.
Madam Speaker, you know what is more egregious. They make these promises deliberately knowing that they cannot be fulfilled. They know they will not collect the money because they have failed to collect even 5% in that category called Other Receipts over the years. In fact, the Audit Report for 2019, at page 40 Madam Speaker, indicates that out of $198 million in 2019, in Other Receipts that the minister said that they would collect in order to implement their programs, they only collected $3 million. That was less than 1% of the revenue. And, if you are only collecting less than 1% of that large sum, how are you going to deliver? Unless of course, there is something else at play. Unless, of course there is something else that he is intended to do.
If that’s the case, you should say so and not leave it up to people to deduce. And if they know that they would not collect the money, they must also know that they can’t be delivering on those promises, yet they do it anyway. Year after year, the budget is inflated and more and more they try to convince the people that on the basis of that because it’s bigger every year you’re making progress because if you are increasing, they say you must be making progress. Even when you call them out on it, they could do it because they think they could fool the people all the time. But as the saying goes, you well know that you can’t fool all the people all the time. And, our people know that fool me once, shame on you.
Madam Speaker, our people know that you fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me because I should know better. And the people of this country, they know better. And, they will not be fooled forever. They will demand better from the government and they will demand change. Madam Speaker that is how we understand the overall presentation of the finances of the country as presented in Roman Numerals one that is the general summary of the finances. But, just for a moment, let us assume that the minister is correct that he says he will collect that money, $250 million, which is part of his capital spending a total of $570.5 million.
This is what he says Madam Speaker. He says that they will spend $570.5 million in capital projects and that is a lot of money is a lot of projects as he says. Whether we have the capacity, of course to implement is a different matter. And he talked about some of those issues yesterday. The minister also says that to implement those projects, this is according to his own figures that he has to raise or he will raise $805 million in Capital Receipts, $61 million in Grants, 371 million in External Loans, $155 million in Local Loans, in Capital Revenue of $1 million, and Other receipts of $215.5 million.
He says he needs to raise $805 million to implement capital projects that cost $570 million. So, he is raising in excess of $235 million more than he actually needs. Why does he need to raise more money than the projects cost? What does he intend to do with the excess money? And, a lot of the money is borrowed. $472 million of it is borrowed. Why would you borrow money that you don’t need? Just think about it Madam Speaker. You say that you’re going to spend on capital projects, $570 million. And in the same document, you say you’re going to raise $805 million to do it. How does that make sense? Anybody who is building a house, they will tell you they go to the bank after the contractor told them that you need to borrow $250,000. They know the cost of borrowing and they try to get it down to $225,000, you borrow a little less. You don’t say it will cost $250,000, so let me borrow $300,000 because it will cost you more to carry it.
The reality is that the minister is departing from that common sense logic that the ordinary homeowner will apply when he is building his house. Yet, he does not explain this illogical presentation in his document. Borrowing money costs interest and it costs fees. Since we don’t need it to implement the projects because the projects only cost $570 million, why borrow it? If you don’t borrow it, it will reduce the debt burden and the cost of servicing the national debt, as we know, is a problem.
The way the minister presents it, the way he apparently wants us to see it, because he wants us to take the numbers in the estimates at face value. We are looking behind it and say, no, he can’t collect that amount of money because we look historically and say the $250 million in Other Receipts, you have not been collecting so therefore it’s bogus. But he is saying, no, this year will be different. But, what are you going to do with that amount of money when you don’t need to take up the project? Does he want to waste money? I don’t want to ascribe that kind of thinking to the minister.