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Budget issues

Written by Saturday, 13 September 2014 11:18

THE Minister of Finance and the Economy, Senator Larry Howai has read the Budget and has allocated an overall sum of TTD$3.7 billion to Tobago; 5.7% of the National Budget.


IN a letter to Tobago News some three weeks ago, I had made the point that, with a General Election in the offing, it would have been foolhardy to expect the Minister of Finance to embark resolutely on any series of measures which could have put the economy of Trinidad and Tobago on an even keel. The assumption was made that the Minister would seek to avoid actions which would “hit” the pockets of the voters and, while the Minister would have been expected to hand out some “goodies”, the extent of the largesse in this 2014/2015 Budget was not anticipated. Indeed, it is my view that yet another opportunity has been lost to move the economy into the correct direction. Indeed, the headlines in all three daily newspapers – “Handouts”, “Slice of the Pie For All”, “Welfare Budget” -  could have been written by me after hearing the Minister’s presentation. I am disappointed! Why is this largesse necessary while the country continues to experience annual budget deficits and a seemingly unavoidable addiction to borrowing?
Instead, the Budget Statement features little or nothing worthwhile in respect of the following “desirables”:

  1. Treatment of “transfers and subsidies”- said by the Minister himself to be 50% of Budget expenditure. Here, the Minister conveys the impression that there would be greater surveillance in the future. Should he not have tapped this source to assist in eliminating the Budget deficit?
  2. Where are the measures to “induce the average citizen to invest “and set the economy on a path of diversification?
  3. As an aid to item (2) why does the allocation to agriculture continue to be so paltry?
  4. There seems to be no properly identifiable “housing policy”? Is it that the allocation of empty units is being made to await the imminence of the General Elections?
  5. What of the much-touted mechanism to transform the National Insurance Scheme into a national contributory pension’s scheme? What of the NIB/social welfare hotchpotch?
  6. Why is the practice of granting amnesty to delinquent taxpayers still being featured? Also, why has there not been a genuine reform of the Income Tax regime, a regime which is heavily-skewed towards the higher echelon in the society?
  7. Has the Lands & Building (Property) Tax system been permanently laid to rest?

These are but a few of the “omissions” in the Budget which readily come to mind. Indeed, instead, one is faced with the same pattern of budgeting which has characterised the People’s Partnership Government - a concentration on welfare “handouts” with “almost nothing” aimed at transforming the economy from its “one-crop” dependence on eventually depleting oil and gas resources.


The ‘underwhelming’ Budget

Written by Saturday, 13 September 2014 11:16


I am writing to say the Government made an underwhelming 2015 Budget presentation. I am still waiting to hear what the biggest budget in the history of Trinidad and Tobago has allocated for income earning activities as well as developmental initiatives.

Encourage non-mothers too

Written by Saturday, 13 September 2014 11:15


MOST of us agree that unwanted and uncared for children grow up to become the social delinquents who are the engine room of most criminal activity.

Budgets and Statistics

Written by Saturday, 13 September 2014 11:14

Minster Larry Howai presented a crafty budget for the next fiscal year in Parliament last Monday. I concur with others who recognise a surprisingly measured approach with general elections due in 2015.

IT’S been said enough times. The Internet, while readily facilitating knowledge about negative things in society, has had trouble encouraging positives.

A most unholy alliance

Written by Saturday, 13 September 2014 11:10

WHILST growing up, I often heard that one ought to be wary of Greeks bearing gifts. I was almost always confused. However, as I grew older and was able to acquire the art of critical thinking, and able to separate the forest from the trees;

Tips to more effectively secure your home

Written by Saturday, 13 September 2014 11:08

Wow folks, thanks for your overwhelming response to Contractors Corner; we still have readers in our society and that is great.  It was on one of visits to a client when the topic of home security came up; she asked home can we make our homes more safe, and the discussion went on and on.

Eula Granderson- Brown, Plymouth

Written by Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:41

QUESTION: Do you think that enough is being done to improve Tobago’s infrastructure?

I think they are trying. The sea used to come over on the pitch and now they have the big wharf. They had little shacks all over Tobago and now they have buildings.

Debbie, Charlotteville

Written by Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:41

QUESTION: Do you think that enough is being done to improve Tobago’s infrastructure?

No. I wouldn’t say that Tobago doesn’t have money. It takes too long for a building to be finished in Tobago, too long. You can’t take over 12 years or ten years to finish a building. I would give you two-and-a-half years to finish a building. When you wait 16 years to finish a building, it makes no sense.

Sylvester, Hope

Written by Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:40

QUESTION: Do you think that enough is being done to improve Tobago’s infrastructure?

I think that more can be done. Simple things can be done like the marking of roads or better street lighting in some areas.

Keith Oster, Mason Hall

Written by Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:39

QUESTION: Do you think that enough is being done to improve Tobago’s infrastructure?

Not really, because of the attitude of the people in Tobago.

Spend Budget dollars well

Written by Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:36

NOW that the Minister of Finance has laid out his budget proposals for the nation, it is imperative for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to reconvene to host a real and meaningful debate on the funding granted to the THA.

‘Independents’ have too much power

Written by Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:35


CONCERNING the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014, the biggest flaw in the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago is the fact that the Government has constitutionally found a way to allow one senator—in this particular case three Independent senators—to call the shots in changing the electoral face of Trinidad and Tobago, supposedly because of a promise made in its election manifesto.

Blame state firms, not Gate, CEPEP

Written by Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:34


THE usual suspects for budget cuts are always the GATE programme, CEPEP and URP. All of these programmes are perhaps the only initiatives of any government within the last 20 years. Those who should know better use derogatory terms such as ‘make-work programme’ or ‘handout’ to describe them.

Do something about noise makers in public places

Written by Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:34


THIS letter goes out to the authorities who are responsible for monitoring noise pollution.

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