MSJ wants expanded school feeding programme, more tax for big businesses

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


David Abdulah –

POLITICAL leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah wants the Prime Minister to reopen and expand the school feeding programme because of increasing food prices.

Within the last week, there have been increases in basic food items such as flour, bread, dairy products and from Monday, the price of poultry will increasse by four per cent.

Given the circumstances, Abdulah said it is critically important that Dr Rowley restart and expand the school feeding programme although the majority of children are still being taught online.

He said principals and teachers would know who are the children in need. He suggested using community centres or schools to distribute breakfast and lunch.

Abdulah said this measure will bring relief to unemployed parents or those whose wages have not increased. It will also provide an opportunity for caterers, who had to close their businesses during the lockdown period, to generate some economic activity, he said.

People in the community can also be hired and farmers could sell fresh produce to the caterers.

Abdulah is also lobbying for Government to guarantee decent prices for farmers’ produce and livestock and further subsides for consumers.

He said Government wasted two years to provide a proper road map to economic recovery.

Abdulah said food was a basic necessities of life and if children were not fed a proper diet, health complication will arise.

Abdulah suggested businesses provide subsidised lunches or meals to workers who have not had wage increases. He also called on Government and other stakeholders to consider alternatives to wheat such as cassava, yam, dasheen, eddoes, and breadfruit to save foreign exchange.

The MSJ leader also pointed to the after-tax increases of several large businesses, saying increased taxation on large corporations can provide the funding for the social programme the party has suggested.

“Tax them more. The wealthy have to pay more and contribute more. As our national pie is shrinking, their share is getting bigger. That is wrong. That is unfair.”

He again said property tax should start with industrial and commercial properties.

“Properties the Attorney General’s family is renting for millions a month for Government. Let them pay property tax before the poor working people.”