• Thursday 22nd August 2019

The Malaise: Clearer Still

  • Published on: June 5, 2019

  • That the economy is in limbo has been made clear in the fiscal policy tabled for the new fiscal year in parliament. Government is all set to go full scale for public distribution on the strength of external contributions. Government is to raise internal loans to fulfill its heightened domestic commitments by seeking domestic loans. Among these are its administration and security responsibilities the budgetary allotments for which are now significantly more than development priorities. Leave aside development priorities; the budget admits that our capabilities to spend even these allotments productively have been significantly reduced. And, we now quite boisterously publicize the fact that our audits admit of accounting discrepancies on over half the public account spent; all this in an environment where the fact that our diminishing national production is reflecting on our mounting imports and vanishing exports. It is said that you get three different answers when you put three economists together. Seeking solutions to the problems the finance minister does not see will seem difficult. What is seen is that his government would rather capitalize from the immediate benefits of public largesse and free distributions leaving the questions of national development, audits and earning to an increasingly uncertain future.
    As much as the budget reflects that government would rather settle for the immediate gains of distribution organizationally and would rather forget the future, public concern must concentrate on how this intransigence is likely to reflect upon the nation as such. It is now increasingly clear that, for the immediate future, corruption is likely to transcend the heights of expectations since the desperation is in consolidating (buying up) the public support base through the distribution of the spoils. Secondly, it is possible to foresee that the public anger that is now mustering on the streets will have to be quashed in order to quell public demonstrations and this is being seen both in in the use of public security machinery and in the new legislations designed to both threaten and enable government to do exactly this. Public awareness on this has heightened no doubt and public demonstrations now increasingly point this out. In effect, there is a race between public attempts to oppose on the streets and government attempts to enable itself to quell this. Inevitably, anticipation that something is likely to break somewhere anytime has encouraged the public to anticipate solutions from outside the current system, the parliament having reduced itself to mere rubber stamp. Anticipation is high and speculation is the current mode of predictions. The temptation of mainstream partiers and the partisan media to ride on this and, more over, seek diversions in this adds to the confusion. What is certain is that the situation will not, or more accurately, cannot remain the same if the state is to survive. Public discussions now no longer escape this conclusion. There is some satisfaction and recourse to be gleaned from this.


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