Budget Day is September 9
By Vashtee Achibar and Lara Pickford-Gordon Monday, August 12 2013
Monday, September 9 is Budget day in Trinidad and Tobago. A statement sent from the Office of the Prime Minister at 6.29 pm yesterday stated that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in consultation with Finance Minister, Larry Howai, has selected Monday September 9 for the reading of the budget.
Finance Minister Howai presented his inaugural national Budget Presentation on October 1, 2012 . The 47 billion US fiscal package was titled “Stimulating Growth, Generating Prosperity”.
With Local government elections constitutionally due around October 26, the announcement of the date would further fuel speculation that elections are around the corner.
In an immediate response to the budget date, political leader of the Independent Liberal party (ILP), Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner said in a statement that while he is pleased with the date for the budget, “what is of more importance to me is the announcement of the date for the Local Government Elections.” Adding “ I am concerned more about that date because failure to announce it defines the People’s Partnership as yet another Government which is prepared to trample the rights and interfere with the freedoms of our people as enshrined in our Constitution. The PNM did it four times and the People’s Partnership seems to be heading in the same direction.”
Warner ended by saying that he hopes “the Prime Minister follows wise counsel and announces the date for the Local Government Elections soon.”
Meanwhile President of the South Western Chamber of Commerce, Nigel Minors is calling on government to pay particular attention to the diversification of the economy away from its dependence on oil and gas. He pointed to the taking away of the lands allocated for an E-Teck park in Point Fortin saying it had destroyed all opportunities for a light manufacturing sector in Point Fortin. Of equal importance to the south western peninsula he said is the simultaneous construction of the highway to Point Fortin from the southern borough. He is also calling on government to honour its commitment to the building of the long overdue Point Fortin hospital.
Contacted last night, Nicholas Lok Jack, president of the TT Manufacturers Association gave a few of the organisation’s proposals.
The TTMA asked for Value Added Tax (VAT) to be removed from manufacturing machinery, speedier VAT returns and better allocation of VAT returns. The TTMA also wants a bigger allocation in the budget to revamping regulatory agencies such as the Chemistry Food and Drug Division of the Health Ministry. Lok Jack said the TTMA would also “like to see a plan for a new port.”