MP Biman: Waste of money; $3bn lost through ‘wastage, pilferage and inflated project costs’

Opposition member of parliament and NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad during a recent parliament sitting. Picture: RAMA/FT FILE

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad says $3billion has been lost through “wastage, pilferage, inflated projects costs and mismanagement in government spending” over the past six years.

“As I have said in the previous session of Parliament, talking about Government spending, our estimate showed that under this Government in the last six years – between 2015 and 2020 – an average of $500million per year, amounting to a total of about $3billion in six years or about 5 per cent of our GDP per year, in my view, has been stolen from the taxpayers of this country through wastage, pilferage, inflated projects costs and mismanagement,” he said.

He made the comment during the debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament on Monday.

“That is, if someday, somebody does a proper analysis – imagine if we did not waste that $3billion, we would have the fiscal space today.

“We could have borrowed that $3billion to look after our people, to do the lockdown, to look after the economy.”

During his right of reply, Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum did not directly address the comments made by Prof Prasad.

However, he said the NFP leader, being an economist, should understand the economic consequences of border closures for 17 months in a tourism-dependent country.

“They have, continuously, trying to undermine the economy and somehow seem to be under the illusion that if we lock down the economy we will be out of the economic crisis,” the A-G said.

“If we go that path, the economy will crumble down.”

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