I stopped watching many TV shows and movies a long time ago because they have apparently run out of ideas and are in the habit of using old shows and scripts—that worked sometime in the past—to see if they would work now.
I am now convinced that I should also stop listening to our National Budget presentation and try to find something more productive to do with my time. I mean I could have gotten a good workout, spent time with the kids, and cooked a good meal of something during the Minister of Finance’s three and a half hour presentation.
Unfortunately, I am also now more convinced than ever that, firstly, our technocrats are starved of new ideas and simply hope that, by giving the same advice over and over and over, something would happen.
Secondly, I am also convinced that no one really knows the meaning of the term ‘diversification’. To take a case in point, in focusing on diversification in this Budget, the Minister of Finance highlighted the following areas: Business Facilitation, Export Promotion, Tourism, Agriculture, Business Outsourcing, Marine and Creative Industries.
Here is a direct quote from Budget Speech 2007: “Mr Speaker, the Government has identified and targeted seven key industries for intensified developmental focus. These industries are: Yachting, Fish and Fish Processing; Merchant Marine; Music and Entertainment; Film; Food and Beverage; and Printing and Packaging. The Government is now involved in intensive promotional activities to attract investments in these areas.”
Here is another from Budget Statement 2013: “To this end, we have identified a number of areas for growth and investment with substantial trade opportunities.
“Our priority sectors are: financial services, tourism, information and communication technology, downstream energy industries, agriculture, creative arts and the maritime sectors.”
How long will we continue to say the same thing over and over before we realise that what we need is a substantial change in philosophy?