Is costing of electoral promises a must?

Political manifestos

By Prakash Neerohoo

At the May 1st political meeting, the opposition alliance Labour-MMM-New Democrats announced a list of 20 electoral promises. Since then, there has been a debate among some economists in the media about whether political parties should do a costing of their electoral promises and identify the revenue sources to be used to fund the implementation of those promises.

Pic – Economic Times

This debate is quite new in the country’s political annals. Since the 1976 elections, when a major promise to introduce free secondary education was made by the Labour Party, all kinds of electoral promises have been made by parties of all political stripes without providing any costing. Never have we heard such calls for parties to provide a costing of their electoral promises before elections. What is different this time?

It is fair enough for economists to be concerned about costs, but when the ruling party questions the Opposition’s promises on the grounds of missing costing, we must take this criticism with a pinch of salt. Probably, the stakes are higher for both the ruling party and the official Opposition in the run-up to the next legislative elections (likely to be held after the incoming budget 2024-25) and they are both scrutinizing each other’s promises with careful attention to detect any pitfall or sign of demagogy.

In this paper, I do not intend to discuss the merits or demerits of the 20 proposed measures as that would require an in-depth analysis based on the intended underlying economic policy framework, which we understand will be laid out in a forthcoming manifesto. I would rather focus on the costing issue. I would respond to two criticisms we have heard so far in reaction to the promises made. Read More… Become a Subscriber

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 24 May 2024

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