Tuesday, October 18 2011 @ 06:30 PM AST
Contributed by: AleemKhan
Budget Debate - Fiscal Year 2012
CONTRIBUTION OF THE HONOURABLE NIZAM BAKSH MINISTER OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Introduction and Congratulations
Mr. Speaker, I embrace this opportunity to contribute to the Debate on the National Budget for Fiscal 2012. The Budget, presented by the Honourable Minister of Finance, represents this Administration’s steadfast commitment to ensure sustainable national development even as we grapple with the challenges and impact of the volatile international economic environment. I further congratulate the Minister and his team on identifying innovative means of sourcing capital for infrastructural development and for the sustenance and expansion in our Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Sector. It is to the benefit of our children and future generations that the country is not being plunged into further external international debt; but the necessary funds are being sought internally through our local stock exchanges and the creation of an Infrastructure Development Bank. This country stands to benefit both in the short term and long term.
As the Minister now responsible for the Division of Ageing, I too share the pleasure and joy of senior citizens as expressed when the increase of National Insurance Pensions to $3000 was announced. The additional funds will not only directly benefit the approximately 80,000 NIS Pensioners but also indirectly benefit those who contribute, their children, grandchildren and others, to the monthly expenses of the aging population.
I, also express dismay that the Leader of the Opposition’s first criticism of the Budget was aimed at the increase in NIS Pensions. How and why would such a measure be bothersome to the P.N.M? I am sure some of you on the other side receive NIS pensions? It is clear that th PNM feels that the $80,000 NIS pensioners should not have an increase to $3000 per month.
As the Minister of Community Development, I share the firm view that no community could experience true growth and development if it is under threat from within and without. This year’s allocation to the Ministry Of National Security of $5.17 billion gives us further comfort that our national community is being secured at ports of entry, along the coastline and in the cities; towns and villages. Why does this become the Leader of the Opposition and M.P for Diego Martin West second point of criticism, the population must ask?
It is in this context, Mr. Speaker, that I congratulate the Honourable Minister of Finance for presenting a Budget which remains securely anchored by the fundamental philosophy, policy perspectives and pledges of our Peoples Partnership Government.
The Budget presentation allows all to benefit from the policies, programmes and priorities as well as the resource allocation of this Peoples’ Partnership Government.
Mr Speaker, the mobilization, engagement and development of communities is key to preparing our nation for sustainable development.
Ministry of Community Development- A Key Driver for Community Mobilization
Mr. Speaker, at the Ministry of Community Development we are ideally poised to be the key driver of this mission of community mobilization, engagement and development. We interface directly with members of the public through formal and informal groups, for example Village Councils, Women’s Groups, Faith Based Organisations and a range of other Non Governmental Organisations. Our interaction with groups enables us to acquire an intimate knowledge of the socio-economic conditions that characterize communities across Trinidad and Tobago. This allows us to mobilize and motivate communities to identify and address issues relevant to their development.