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Author Topic: T&T Budget Thread.  (Read 13990 times)

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Offline Bakes

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #90 on: September 25, 2014, 07:35:29 PM »
heres the reason men say the airguard is special. An application goes out for 100 positions, 1600 people apply with at least 800 having A levels and Degrees. when the fat is trimmed, who do you thing gets tru? now lets compare that to Army where 3 passes is the requirement. and thats what they get.

i cant tell you what a typical day in the airguard is like but i can tell you the maintenance of helicopters and aircraft is not as easy as it sounds. they cant pull over so inspections are frequent and thorough. and all their personnel are highly trained and qualified. A pilot is a pilot, an engineer is an engineer etc. now picture these people working in the service making serviceman salaries.lol

serving in the defence force in trinidad is a sacrifice (or so my source told me)

Indeed... which is why dem pilot and engineer and dem in de Air Guard have tuh eat same as de soldiers  ;D

Offline Sando prince

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #91 on: September 26, 2014, 09:13:19 AM »

http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Cost-of-police-uniforms-jumps-from-10m-to-40m-277164791.html


Cost of police uniforms jumps from $10m to $40m


Over the past three years the cost to acquire uniforms for members of the Police Service increased from $10 million to $40 million.

The escalated cost was raised yesterday as a point of concern by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley as the Finance Committee of the Parliament deliberated on the $2.4 billion allocation for the Police Service for 2015.

Rowley noted that $10 million was spent in 2011 to acquire uniforms, in 2013 it increased to $35 million and the budgetary allocation for 2015 was $40 million.

He questioned what caused this drastic change in the cost over the span of three years.

National Security Minister Gary Griffith said some four to five uniforms which includeed ceremonial wear were purchased for each officer in the force. He added that every year the manpower strength was increased and more uniforms were required.

There are currently 6,200 officers in the service.

Rowley questioned Griffith on whether this figure of $40 million was not exorbitant and the minister said it worked out to around $6,000 per officer for the four uniforms which was reasonable.

Opposition MP Colm Imbert questioned whether the uniforms were only used for a period of 12 months.

Griffith said certain uniforms were used on a daily basis and based on wear and tear they were changed.

Imbert asked further what procurement processes were used to acquire the uniforms and who designs them.

He noted that former commissioner of police Dwayne Gibbs had said the uniforms were not suitable for this country’s climate and asked whether any change had increased the cost.

Griffith said the same old colonial type uniforms were used and there was a set procurement procedure in place.

Imbert asked if there was any competitive bidding.

Griffith said he would provide the response in writing and added that officers of the second division had requested that they wanted the whole uniform changed.

Opposition MP Donna Cox asked what checks and balances were in place to ensure that police uniforms did not fall into the hands of bandits.

Griffith said there was a need for more audits and checks to avoid this.

Rowley also queried the increased cost of the phone bill for the Police Service. He noted that in 2013 it was $38 million, in 2014 it was $39 million and some $45 million was allocated for 2015.

He said this would mean that in three years over $100 million was spent on phone bills for the Police Service and questioned what controls were in place to prevent any abuse of the phones.

Griffith said the bills included cost for IT services, broadband and Internet services in addition to landline and mobile phone calls. He said checks could be made to look at the landline usage to determine whether there was abuse in any specific area and the justification for it.

Cox questioned the minister on some $16 million allocated for the food bill for the Police Service.

Griffith said this expenditure resulted from providing food for people who are held in cells at police stations before they are moved.

“You all provide them to the tune for $16 million?” asked Cox.

“They eating!” responded Griffith, adding that he understood the point she was making and would look at the issue.

In response to the manpower of the Police Service, Griffith disclosed that a total of 7,715 officers were needed to reach the required establishment.

He said the force would be increased with an additional 1,000 officers by April next year as recruits were in training.

http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Cost-of-police-uniforms-jumps-from-10m-to-40m-277164791.html

Offline Socapro

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #92 on: September 26, 2014, 10:18:38 AM »
The Dogs of War need to be well fed and clothed.
De higher a monkey climbs is de less his ass is on de line, if he works for FIFA that is! ;-)

Offline Tiresais

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #93 on: September 26, 2014, 03:25:37 PM »
My food budget at Uni was about £100/£150 a month, but then again food in the UK is just a bit more expensive than TT :p

On a serious note tho, I'd expect teh food/ration budget to be higher for the army. You will all have to tell me how that compares to the norm Trini-side!

Offline Sando prince

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #94 on: September 27, 2014, 04:55:13 PM »

Boy ah tell yuh!  Almost every government Minister is having problems accounting how the money is being spent when questioned by the Opposition. Now it's the Minister of Water  :(

http://www.tv6tnt.com/sevenpm-news/ROWLEY-ON-GANGA-FLOOD-MONEY-277292881.html

Offline Socapro

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #95 on: September 27, 2014, 09:43:21 PM »

Boy ah tell yuh!  Almost every government Minister is having problems accounting how the money is being spent when questioned by the Opposition. Now it's the Minister of Water  :(

http://www.tv6tnt.com/sevenpm-news/ROWLEY-ON-GANGA-FLOOD-MONEY-277292881.html


Every single Ministry in this PPG is corrupted  with taxpayers money being wasted or not being accounted for.
De higher a monkey climbs is de less his ass is on de line, if he works for FIFA that is! ;-)

Offline Michael-j

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #96 on: September 28, 2014, 12:23:26 AM »
Fishy Food Probe
National Security Minister to launch audit of $97m food bill for Defence Force, Police
By By Anika Gumbs CCN Senior Multimedia Investigative Journalist
Story Created: Sep 27, 2014 at 9:20 PM ECT
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Fishy--Food--Probe-277342831.html

Reports of massive pilferage of cold cuts and dry goods are said to be linked to the hefty food bill at the T&T Regiment.
The Sunday Express learned that Minister of National Security Gary Griffith is set to order a full review into the $40 million allocation to the T&T Regiment for the purchase of food for the period October 2014 to September 2015.
Griffith is also expected to review the $16 million allocation to the Police Service for providing meals to accused who are kept at police stations before being taken to court. A portion of the allocation, the Sunday Express learned, is also used to cater for police officers who work extra duties during major events.
A monthly meal allowance of $580 is paid to all police officers except to the acting and Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Told of the reports of pilferage in the T&T Regiment, public affairs officer Cpt Stefan Affonso told the Sunday Express that any form of pilferage is dealt with.
“A board of enquiry is held to ascertain the facts of the matter then an appropriate course of action is taken. Pilferage is not condoned. We do not turn a blind eye to it at all. We have implemented particular forms to keep a record of food stock,” Affonso said.

Hearty eaters

Official documents obtained by the Sunday Express list the breakdown of the $97 million expenditure for food by the various divisions of the ministry as follows:
•T&T Regiment —$40 million (2,680 officers);
•Coast Guard—$24 million (1,557 officers);
•Police Service—$16 million (accused waiting to be charged or taken to court);
• Air Guard—$10 million (420 officers);
• Immigration Detention Centre—$5 million (estimated 110 individuals) ;
•Volunteer Defence Force—$1.8 million (reserves: full-time 400 and part-time 224);
•Cadet Force—$324,300                                                           

Meals are provided as follows:       

Annual Training Camp two to three weeks - July/August - (estimated 500 to 600 individuals);
Annual Training Camp - two to three weeks during the Easter period-(estimated 500 to 600 individuals);
Annual Inspection Parade (500 to 600 individuals );
Independence Day Parade (300 to 400 individuals) and
National Day of Remembrance (150 individuals)
Speaking under strict anonymity a top military source said: “The figures could never add up because meals are not supposed to be given to all of the soldiers. For $40 million to be spent on food that means that each soldier is being fed three rations per day, that is not taking place. There is need for an investigation. A lot of cold cut meats are being invoiced but not cooked. If an impromptu stock count is conducted to match the invoices submitted heads are going to roll. An audit into the purchase of food at the T&T Regiment is long overdue.”
It was Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley who first queried the funding to the Regiment whose food bill increased from $27 million to $40 million, while the Air Guard was also allocated $10 million.
The Ministry of National Security was allocated $2.6 billion out of the $ 64 billion fiscal package.
Rowley questioned the figure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee set up to examine budgetary allocations to the various ministries in the Parliament Chamber on Tuesday at the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.
The Sunday Express was told that Rowley’s queries may very well have creditability as military sources said rations are only supposed to be fed to single soldiers three times per day.
The ministry source said married men and soldiers who have permission to live out both receive a ration allowance of between $30 to $50 per day.

Accused fed  by relatives


With respect to the allocation to the Police Service for accused persons, the Sunday Express learned that on many occasions meals are provided by relatives.
In fact, on a daily basis at the San Fernando Police Station relatives are seen with packages containing boxes of food and clothing for the accused.
“Most of the times relatives bring meals for the accused. There is a caterer but the meals are of a poor quality. They may get one slice of bread with peanut butter; the meals are  nothing substantial. There have been occasions when I have told caterers that they need to bring better food because they are being paid,” a Sgt told the Sunday Express.

Griffith to launch
investigation


Contacted yesterday, Griffith who was enroute to China to finalise plans for the purchase of intelligence equipment for the National Operations Centre said the allocations for food warranted an investigation.
“Just by questions raised alone it warrants an investigation. It would be the appropriate thing to do and I will be reviewing the allocations on my return.
“I have to ensure a proper competitive process is being followed.
“It’s a matter of making sure all items purchased are in stock and the proper procurement process is being used.”
In relation to the $16 million allocation to feed accused, Griffith said he will be liaising with acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams for clarity on the specific allocation.

Williams: allocation justified


However, Williams told the Sunday Express that the allocation for the accused was an estimate.
“A budget is about estimating. It is about providing in case something happens.
It is not necessarily only for accused. A substantial portion is used for the accused and the rest is to used to feed police offices when there are major events. The State must provide for accused. The State has a responsibility to feed them,” Williams said.
Told that on many occasions meals are supplied by relatives of accused, Williams said:  “A police officer may bend the rule for someone on a special diet but the law states that the Police Service must feed them (accused) once they are in custody.”


The menu

The rations, military sources told the Sunday Express, include a basic menu that comprises of some of the following options:

•Breakfast:
  Bread or bake with one side which includes: sausage, eggs, plantains, tuna or corned beef

•Lunch:
  Pelau, roti, rice and saltfish, provision with stew chicken or beef or saltfish or cow heel soup (one of the dishes is cooked per day)

•Dinner:
  Light soup or extra food from lunch. This meal is called playbacks.
Macaroni or potato pie is served on occasion.

Offline Brownsugar

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #97 on: September 28, 2014, 05:40:12 AM »
Is Armani designing the police uniforms and the chef rat from Ratatouille cooking for the military........
"...If yuh clothes tear up
Or yuh shoes burst off,
You could still jump up when music play.
Old lady, young baby, everybody could dingolay...
Dingolay, ay, ay, ay ay,
Dingolay ay, ay, ay..."

RIP Shadow....The legend will live on in music...

Offline grimm01

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #98 on: September 28, 2014, 08:20:07 AM »
Lol long time now it have men in the Defence Force who have side catering businesses that would charge their clients for food then roll up to the DF pantry and take that food to cook. On top of that they borrowing the equipment from the kitchen to cook for clients. That is one reason why the food bill so high.

Offline Brownsugar

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #99 on: September 29, 2014, 06:11:01 PM »
Well hear nah......me and the Mr. coming home just now dey and he on de phone organising ah lime with he Army buddies for this upcoming weekend.

So he come off de phone and giving me some details about their little weekend get away to Mayaro.  He mentioned a group going up early to start to cook and ting.  Then some how during the conversation he managed to metion that Army men does have to pay for their meals.

Ah mash brakes.....ah say, repeat that.  He say yeah, I hearing that years now, that Army men does get their meals deducted from their pay.......ah say how de arse de Army food bill is $40 million for the upcoming year??!!

He say let me call "Joe" (not his real name of course) and yuh goh hear for yourself.  So he call Joe and put him on speaker.  So Joe explains that $35 dollars is deducted from their pay for meals eaten.  EVERY meal.  Not once a week or once a month.....every day.  He said if you are on vacation etc. then the money is refunded to you. 

Ah say so how de hell de food bill is $40 million for soliders??!!  He chuckle and say he doh know......

Ah blasted vex all yuh see me here.  Every damn month I watching dem take dey 25% pound ah flesh from mih pay for what ah doh know..........

steups!!!   :frustrated: :frustrated: :cursing: :cursing: :bs: :pissedoff: :pissedoff: :pissedoff:
"...If yuh clothes tear up
Or yuh shoes burst off,
You could still jump up when music play.
Old lady, young baby, everybody could dingolay...
Dingolay, ay, ay, ay ay,
Dingolay ay, ay, ay..."

RIP Shadow....The legend will live on in music...

Offline Deeks

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Re: T&T Army budget for food has been increased to some $50 million.
« Reply #100 on: September 29, 2014, 08:38:03 PM »
Well I presume it is being subsidized. The real cost maybe $70 dollar per meal. Gov't put half. So that's why is 40 million!

Offline Flex

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #101 on: October 07, 2019, 04:21:28 PM »
Sweetheart package - 2020 Budget Highlights.
By Sampson Nanton (Guardian).


Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert read the 2020 Bud­get in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Mon­day.

The theme of the 2020 Bud­get was 'Sta­bil­i­ty, Strength and Growth'.

The Min­is­ter an­nounced an es­ti­mat­ed rev­enue of $47.749 bil­lion and to­tal ex­pen­di­ture of $53.036 bil­lion, re­sult­ing in a fis­cal deficit of $5.287 bil­lion.

The bud­get was based on a pro­ject­ed oil price of US$60 and a gas price of US$3 per MMB­tu.

The high­est al­lo­ca­tion went to Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing, amount­ing to $7.5 bil­lion, with Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty get­ting $6.044 bil­lion and Health be­ing al­lo­cat­ed $6.084 bil­lion.

The To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly was al­lo­cat­ed $2.283B. This in­clud­ed $2.033B for re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­ture, $231.6M for cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture and $18M for the URP To­ba­go.

Here are some high­lights of the min­is­ter ad­dress.

BUD­GET HIGH­LIGHTS

* No more need for life cer­tifi­cates to be pre­sent­ed to the Trea­sury by pen­sion­ers who pos­sess com­put­erised birth cer­tifi­cates.

* Elim­i­na­tion of ar­rival forms at air­ports.

* Re­moval of all tax­es and du­ties on LED bulbs for five years.

* In­crease in­vest­ment tax cred­it for en­er­gy com­pa­nies from 20% to 25% to stim­u­late ex­plo­ration and de­vel­op­ment in­vest­ment from Jan 1, 2020.

* On-the-job-train­ing in­crease stipends by 10% and in­crease in­take for the pro­gramme to 8000 trainees from De­cem­ber 1, 2019

* In­crease of min­i­mum wage from $15 to $17.50 per hour from De­cem­ber 1, 2019, to ben­e­fit 194,000 per­sons

* In­crease in per­son­al goods that can be im­port­ed with­out in­cur­ring Cus­tom du­ties from $3,000 to $5,000 from De­cem­ber 1, 2019.

* In­crease in tax al­lowance from $3M to $6M for cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship of na­tion­als in sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, cul­ture, arts, cul­ture, au­dio­vi­su­al pro­duc­tion, the lo­cal fash­ion in­dus­try.

* To amend Cooperative So­ci­eties Act to in­crease the lim­it of $5,000 to trans­fer of shares to an­oth­er per­son on death of a mem­ber, to $50,000.

* In­crease wages of CEPEP work­ers by 15% and in­crease fees paid to CEPEP work­ers by 15% from De­cem­ber 1, 2019.

* In­crease wages of URP work­ers by 15% from De­cem­ber 1, 2019.

* Dai­ly-paid work­ers in Pub­lic Ser­vice be el­i­gi­ble for min­i­mum Pub­lic Ser­vice pen­sion of $3,500/month. This will be a con­trib­u­to­ry pen­sion plan. Will take ef­fect in 2020.

* Ban im­por­ta­tion of sty­ro­foam in the food in­dus­try and to ter­mi­nate use of plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles in gov­ern­ment of­fices from Jan­u­ary 1, 2020.

* Re­moval of all tax­es and du­ties on all in­puts for farm­ers. Farm­ing to be­come a tax-free in­dus­try.

* $3 bil­lion in in­ter­est-bear­ing gov­ern­ment bonds to reg­is­tered VAT busi­ness­es to meet their VAT ar­rears. Tenure of 5 years and in­ter­est of 1.5% per an­num.

* New op­er­a­tor for the Magde­le­na Grand in To­ba­go. Ho­tel to be re­brand­ed un­der the new op­er­a­tor.

* 25 bus­es will be on roads by De­cem­ber 2019 pow­ered by CNG.

* T&T Rev­enue Au­thor­i­ty will be­come op­er­a­tional in fis­cal 2020.

* Point Fortin high­way sched­uled to be com­plet­ed at the end of 2020.

* Curepe In­ter­change to be com­mis­sioned by March 2020.

* New li­cense plates for more se­cu­ri­ty and to pre­vent fraud.

* Park­ing me­ters in Port-of-Spain and San Fer­nan­do.

* Traf­fic tick­ets to be paid through TTPost, free­ing up the courts from the bur­den of tick­et fines.

* Two new state-of-the-art fast fer­ries in 2020.

* Restora­tion of Pres­i­dent's House is near­ing com­ple­tion and will soon be oc­cu­pied by the pres­i­dent.

* Her­itage Pe­tro­le­um Lim­it­ed al­ready prof­itable. Rev­enue of $3.287B in first three quar­ters re­sult­ing in net prof­it of $543.5M.

* bpTT made pay­ment of $1B in 2019 and Shell US$282M or $1.9B as set­tle­ment of ar­rears and lega­cy pay­ments.

* Re­place­ment of all in­can­des­cent bulbs to more en­er­gy-ef­fi­cient ones to house­holds free of charge across Trinidad and To­ba­go - 400,000.

* 6,000 new hous­es by De­cem­ber 2020 and 3,000 per an­num there­after.

* New hous­ing loan ini­tia­tive where low-in­ter­est loans will be made avail­able with Govt guar­an­tees up to $300,000 to peo­ple who want to build their own homes.

* New San­gre Grande hos­pi­tal due in No­vem­ber 2021.

* $60M Rox­bor­ough hos­pi­tal with com­mis­sion­ing sched­uled for 2021.

* Day­care cen­tres to cater for chil­dren un­der three years old for fe­male-head­ed house­holds who meet nec­es­sary cri­te­ria.

* Home­less fe­males dis­placed by con­flict, vi­o­lent crimes etc - pro­posed cen­tres to be es­tab­lished by the HDC with sup­port of the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty in spe­cif­ic ge­o­graph­i­cal ar­eas, to pro­vide tem­po­rary re­lief to women who are home­less.

* 200 tablets for po­lice ve­hi­cles for im­me­di­ate ref­er­enc­ing of traf­fic of­fend­ers, 50 dash­board cam­eras, 300 body cam­eras, sur­veil­lance drones, poly­graph equip­ment & drug-test­ing equip­ment for po­lice of­fi­cers.

* Ap­proval to THA to utilise bond fi­nanc­ing up to $300M to fi­nance crit­i­cal projects based on cred­it-wor­thi­ness of THA

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline Flex

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #102 on: October 07, 2019, 04:43:25 PM »
From highways to houses: Here are the key takeaways from budget 2020
By Kalifa Sarah Clyne (Newsday).


Finance Minister Colm Imbert presented an over three-hour-long 2020 budget in Parliament today.

A more thorough report of the presentation will be available online shortly and in tomorrow's paper.

Here are some key takeaways from the presentation:

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE

Government has increased the minimum wage from $15 per hour to $17.50 cents per hour. This will benefit approximately 194,000 people in the workforce. It will come into effect in December 2019.

HIGHWAY PROJECTS CONTINUE

Imbert said the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension from San Fernando to Point Fortin is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020. Additionally, by the end of October 2020, the Mosquito Creek elevated roadway is expected to be complete. The Curepe Interchange project is estimated to be completed in March 2020.

TRAFFIC TICKETS TO BE PAID ONLINE

Government announced a parking meter system for Port of Spain and San Fernando in 2020. It will also free up the courts from processing traffic tickets by establishing a system to allow people to pay traffic tickets through TT Post and online. New systems such as red-light cameras, traffic violations will lead to the suspension of licences. New licence plate system in 2020 to remove illegal plates.

HERITAGE TURNS A PROFIT

Heritage Petroleum Company Limited generated revenue of $3.287b in the first three-quarters of operation, including a $543m net profit.

A Second NIF

The National Investment Fund has to date paid out $224 million in dividends. A second NIF will come next year through the sale of certain Clico assets worth $2.6 billion. (Clico has settled about $15 of its $23 billion debt to the taxpayer, excluding the recent sale of the insurance portfolio to Sagicor. The Government is in the process of evaluating the outstanding debt.)

INCREASED OIL & GAS PRODUCTION

Oil production has increased to 59,200 barrels per day as production from oil companies has been expanding. He said natural gas production is steadily increasing and will be 3.8 billion scf in 2019, closer to the peak demand of 3.9 billion.

DIGITISING LAND FILES

Government is investing $10 million to upgrade IT systems in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries and will improve internet access at these offices. Government plans to move 80,000 land files into an electronic document management system and will launch a land card to give state land users card access to their files.

REVIEW OF FISHERIES, WILDLIFE & FORESTRY MANAGEMENT

A fisheries management bill will be laid in Parliament to moderate the long-term management of TT's fisheries resources. Imbert said a national review on wildlife conservation and hunting was completed and a suite of legislation is planned. The management of forests has also been reviewed.

BULB REPLACEMENT PROGRAMME

Government will undertake a programme to remove all antiquated incandescent bulbs in the 400k households in TT as a public service and a “major boost” to energy conservation. Government proposed to remove all taxes and duties on LED bulbs for a five-year period.

MORE MONEY FOR SCHOOL MAINTENANCE
Government will increase the maintenance budget for schools and will roll out a billion-dollar package of construction work to complete 27 priority schools.

6,000 HOUSES BY DECEMBER 2020

Government's accelerated  6,000 units by December 2020 and 3000 units per year. Previously stalled housing projects will be resumed. The Government will also launch a new housing loan initiative to provide guaranteed low-interest loans of $300,000 for people willing to build their own homes. Small contractors will be given contracts to build "no-frills" home at $500,000 each.

SHELTERS FOR HOMELESS WOMEN

Government announced shelters for homeless women displaced through domestic and other issues. The proposed shelters will be established by HDC with the support of business communities to provide temporary relief to women who are homeless.

COMMUNITY DAYCARES

Government announced daycare centres for children under three who belong to female-headed households who meet stipulated criteria. They are expected to be established in communities across TT and will provide employment for women.

THA to get ADDITIONAL $987.1 million

Imbert said the Tobago budget allocation is 2.283 billion or 4.3 percent of budget. The Bill for internal self-government to go before Parliament in the first quarter of 2020.

NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR POLICE

Imbert announced a new state-of-the-art police training academy, tablets, drones, dashboard cameras, drug testing equipment among others to transform the police service and combat crime.

OJT, CEPEP & URP WAGE INCREASE

Imbert announced the Government's intention to increase the wages for CEPEP and URP workers by 15 per cent. Government will increase the On-the-Job training Programme stipend by 10 per cent and increase the intake for the programme to 8,000 trainees. This will come into effect in December 2019.

DAILY PAID PUBLIC SERVANTS PENSION

Going forward, Imbert proposed that daily paid workers be eligible for public service pension of $3,500 as part of a contributory pension plan.

Imbert said the projected revenue for the budget was $47.749 billion and projected expenditure was $53.036 billion. The deficit is expected to be $5.287 billion.

It is based on an oil price of US$60 and a gas price of $3 per MMBtu.

National security: $6.440 billion

Education: $7.548 billion

Health: $6.084 billion

Local Government:$2.469 billion

Works and Infrastructure: $2.956 billion

Agriculture: $0.708 billion

Housing: $1.007 billion

Public Utilities:$3.074 billion

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #103 on: October 08, 2019, 02:38:01 AM »
Charles pleased with $2.23b allocation for Tobago.
By Elizabeth Gonzales (Newsday).


TOBAGO House of Assembly Chief Secretary, Kelvin Charles, is very satisfied with the $2.23 billion allocation for Tobago in the national budget.

He is specifically enthralled as, for the first time, approval has been given to borrow $300 million for development, based on credit-worthiness, via bonds financing.

Imbert announced the THA was allocated $2.033 billion for recurrent expenditure, $231.6 million for capital expenditure, and $18 million for the URP Tobago.

“We are well poised to continue on our developmental path and to continue to bring relief to the residents of Tobago,” Charles told media after the presentation at the Parliament.

He described the budget as a “pragmatic and realistic one” that was well crafted to bring hope and comfort to T&T.

“We are satisfied; we have received no less than in previous years.”

Charles was pleased about the announcement of the ongoing negotiations with CAF – the Development Bank of Latin America – for a US$16 million loan that will assist Tobago with its coastal erosion programme and marine environment protection.

“This budget is a reward for all of us who would have, together, sacrificed to ensure that the economy moved from stabilisation to a point where it is heading for sustained growth.”

For THA minority member Farley Augustine, this was a “clever election budget” that will ultimately fail to meet the basic needs of the average Tobagonian.

He questioned where the money is going, alleging Tobago has a management problem and millions have gone unaccounted for yearly.

“It’s larger than how much money we received, and it’s more about what we have been receiving. Trinidad boasts about building 3,000 houses per year. We have not even built 30 per year in the last four years. Trinidad has an indoor sporting facility, Tobago continues to go without a modern sporting facility.”

Farley wasn’t too excited about the allocation as Charles, saying Tobago has received “matches budgets over the last 20 or so years, and nothing is surprising about the allocation to Tobago.”

He said it’s disappointing to hear Imbert boast that Tobago received 4.3 per cent of the national budget because it’s significantly lower than the $4.8 billion requested by the THA in June.

He said the revival of the seabridge is not an accomplishment by the government, since they are to be blamed for the collapse of the interisland service.

Augustine admitted seeing some “incremental improvements in the seabridge with the leased boats, and we do hope the new boats come on stream so we don’t have to swim again to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to not have a functioning seabridge.”

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #104 on: October 08, 2019, 05:12:35 AM »
More money for many.
By Gail Alexander (Guardian).


Min­inum wage in­creased to $17.50 an hour, CEPEP and URP salaries up by 15 per­cent, jobs for youths, day care cen­tres for tots, shel­ters for home­less women - and a tax-free agri­cul­ture sec­tor.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert yes­ter­day an­nounced these im­prove­ments with­in a bag of con­ces­sions for var­i­ous oth­er sec­tors in his 2020 Bud­get, wide­ly re­gard­ed as an elec­tion Bud­get.

In­deed, Im­bert closed his Bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion list­ing what Gov­ern­ment has done in its term and adding, “We’ve achieved our man­i­festo promis­es.... we’ve clear­ly demon­strat­ed a ca­pac­i­ty and com­pe­tence in man­age­ment of the econ­o­my over the last 48 months ....our ex­em­plary record could now stand the test of pub­lic scruti­ny.”

“We in the PNM will con­tin­ue to ‘Get Up And Stand Up for What is Right’,” he con­clud­ed, quot­ing late reg­gae icon Bob Mar­ley.

The $53.036 bil­lion Bud­get - $2.5B more than last year’s $51.7B Bud­get- will take T&T through the Row­ley ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fifth and fi­nal year in which Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment polls are due af­ter No­vem­ber 28 and gen­er­al elec­tions, next year.

Im­bert spoke for three hours and 10 min­utes on his Bud­get’s theme which pro­claimed “Sta­bil­i­ty, Strength and Growth.”

The pack­age was - as pro­ject­ed - de­void of any gas price hikes, in­creased tax­es or mea­sures to pun­ish the pub­lic. In­stead the slew of con­ces­sions in­clud­ed an in­crease in the Min­i­mum Wage from $15 to $17.50 per hour. This will ben­e­fit 194,000 peo­ple and be­come ef­fec­tive from De­cem­ber 1.

Wages for CEPEP and Un­em­plopy­ment Re­lief (URP) work­ers will be in­creased from De­cem­ber 1 by 15 per­cent. Fees paid to CEPEP con­trac­tors will al­so be in­creased by 15 per­cent.

Im­bert an­nounced a pen­sion of $3,500 from 2020 for dai­ly paid pub­lic ser­vants with the ap­pro­pri­ate min­i­mum length of ser­vice. This will be a con­trib­u­to­ry plan. Cur­rent­ly, dai­ly paid work­ers on­ly re­ceive a lump sum of mon­ey, but no pen­sion.

The On-The-Job stipend will be in­creased by 10 per­cent . There will al­so be an in­creased in­take of the OJT pro­gramme to 8,000 trainees, ef­fec­tive De­cem­ber 1.

Gov­ern­ment pen­sion­ers born in T&T will no longer have to present Life Cer­tifi­cates. This will be ex­tend­ed to re­cip­i­ents of se­nior cit­i­zens’ pen­sions lat­er in 2020.

Im­bert al­so an­nounced day­care cen­tres for chil­dren un­der three years. These would be es­tab­lished in com­mu­ni­ties and al­so pro­vide em­ploy­ment for women.

He said, “Cur­rent­ly there are thou­sands of women un­able to seek em­ploy­ment due to the high costs and lack of day care fa­cil­i­ties for low­er in­come, fam­i­lies. The in­tent is to in­tro­duce child care ser­vices for fe­male head­ed house­hold­ers who meet stip­u­lat­ed cri­te­ria.”

He an­nounced shel­ters for home­less fe­males dis­placed by fam­i­ly con­flict, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, crime/oth­er is­sues. Af­ter as­sess­ment, women will be tem­porar­i­ly as­signed to shel­ters for three to 12 months.

Im­bert re­moved all tax­es and du­ties for in­puts to agri­cul­ture, “It’s a tax free in­dus­try.”

He as­sured that the Mos­qui­to Creek el­e­vat­ed road­way will be ready by Au­gust 2020.

Im­bert al­so re­moved the re­quire­ment to fill out ar­rival forms at air­ports from 2020 . This which will re­duce lengthy lines at air­ports. The new sys­tem will re­ly on Ad­vance Pas­sen­ger In­for­ma­tion (API) .

From Jan­u­ary 2020, the val­ue of per­son­al goods that can be im­port­ed with­out in­cur­ring cus­toms du­ties will al­so be in­creased from $3,000 - a lev­el set in 2005 - to $5,000.

The Bud­get was based on the same oil and gas prices Im­bert used in his mid year re­view: US$60 and US$3 per MMB­tu.

To­tal rev­enue is bud­get­ed at $47.7B up from the 2019 fig­ure of $46.5B. The fis­cal deficit for 2020 is ex­pect­ed to in­crease mar­gin­al­ly to $5.2B com­pared with the 2019 deficit of $3.9B.

Trade-off on VAT re­funds

Im­bert’s so­lu­tion to set­tle the $4.5B in VAT re­funds owed to busi­ness­men in­volved of­fer­ing $3B in the first in­stance in in­ter­est- bear­ing Gov­ern­ment bonds to el­i­gi­ble VAT reg­is­tered bsui­ness­es to meet ar­rears.

These wil have a tenor of five years with an in­ter­est rate of 1.5 per­cent per an­num. Bonds will be trade­able and trans­fer­able to be used as col­lat­er­al or for cash. Af­ter that, he said he’d en­sure VAT re­funds are made cur­rent.

A new method­ol­o­gy to re­place the ex­ist­ing ba­sis for tax­a­tion of life in­sur­ance com­pa­nies was al­so an­nounced, “It’ll have min­i­mal im­pact on the tax po­si­tion of in­sur­ance com­pa­nies,”

Im­bert said im­ple­men­ta­tion of the prop­er­ty tax is con­strained by com­ple­tion of Op­po­si­tion cas­es on the mat­ter and Gov­ern­ment hopes that will be re­solved in 2020 for asess­ment of prop­er­ties to be ex­pe­dit­ed. So far 60,000 val­u­a­tion forms have been sub­mit­ted - 15 per­cent of res­i­den­tial house­holds.

He said the re­cent­ly con­clud­ed tax amnesty net­ted an his­toric $2.3B - five times more than pro­ject­ed.

Im­bert added that OW­TU’s ne­go­ti­a­tions for the Petrotrin re­fin­ery is “still an on go­ing process which if suc­cess­ful” will lead to the award to OW­TU’s Pa­tri­ot­ic com­pa­ny of the con­tract for pur­chase of the re­fin­ery.

Po­lice get more, but Govt un­hap­py about crime

Top dol­lar in the Bud­get went to Ed­u­ca­tion ($7.5B), Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty ($6.4B), Health, ($6.8B ) Pub­lic Util­ties ($3,47B), Works ($2.9B), Rur­al De­vel­op­ment/Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment ($2.4B), Hous­ing ($1B).

The Po­lice Ser­vice ap­peared to re­ceive more than its 2019 al­lo­ca­tion of ap­prox.$2.1B . The Es­ti­mates of Ex­pen­di­ture (2020) list­ed an es­ti­mate for the TTPS as $2.6B. The Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er and Im­bert had sparred dur­ing the last fis­cal year on re­leas­es which the CoP had com­plained about .

Yes­ter­day Im­bert said, “We agree that while there’ s been some im­prove­ment in the crime sit­u­a­tion, its lev­el re­mains too high and con­tin­ues to pose threats to pub­lic safe­ty. The crime sit­u­a­tion is cre­at­ing neg­a­tive per­cep­tion about TT at home as well as abroad. It’s cre­at­ing a feel­ing of fear and a de­gree of in­se­cu­ri­ty. Let me em­pha­sise: this Gov­ern­ment isn’t pre­pared to tol­er­ate the con­tin­u­ing of this high lev­el of crime and mur­der,”

To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly re­ceived $2.2B - 4.3 per­cent of the Bud­get.

Im­bert as­sured To­bag­o­ni­ans- some of whom protest­ed out­side Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day about the To­ba­go Air­port ter­mi­nal project that - all would be treat­ed fair­ly.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #105 on: October 08, 2019, 05:13:32 AM »
Kamla: Budget was the final rites to bury the economy.
By Shaliza Hassanali (Guardian).


While Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar yes­ter­day ex­pressed de­light with Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert’s pro­pos­al to in­crease the min­i­mum wage from $15 to $17.50 an hour for 194,000 low in­come work­ers across the coun­try, she feels the pay hike was in­suf­fi­cient as it should have been $20 an hour in­stead.

This was how Per­sad-Bisses­sar re­spond­ed at a press con­fer­ence at the Par­lia­ment Build­ing, Port-of-Spain, min­utes af­ter Im­bert de­liv­ered his $53 bil­lion 2019/20120 bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Hav­ing lis­tened to Im­bert’s three hours 21 min­utes bud­get, PersaBisses­sar de­scribed it as a re­peat of promis­es from pre­vi­ous bud­gets he had de­liv­ered.

“This was a mish­mash, hudge pudge of his same poli­cies com­ing from sev­er­al bud­gets be­fore. It is clear that he demon­strat­ed in a very bor­ing man­ner the cu­mu­la­tive fail­ures of four years.”

In­sist­ing that the econ­o­my was dead, Per­sad-Bisses­sar said Im­bert’s pre­sen­ta­tion showed ex­act­ly that.

“The ho­n­ourable min­is­ter per­formed the fi­nal rites to bury the econ­o­my. I don’t think the pop­u­la­tion is go­ing to be fooled by the gim­mick­ry or the PR gim­micks or stunts. It is like Hansel and Gre­tel pol­i­tics....you know...you throw­ing crumbs. They throw­ing crumbs with these pur­port­ed in­creas­es when the ma­jor­i­ty don’t have jobs.”

She said the ma­jor­i­ty of peo­ple who have been feel­ing the pinch was the most vul­ner­a­ble.

“They throw­ing out crumbs...telling them to take that! take that! 15 per cent here. “

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said many re­mained bored to tears, while Im­bert came across like “a snake oil sales­man with his smooth talk” to soothe aches and pains.

She said Im­bert showed no new ini­tia­tives to cre­ate rev­enues streams and jobs.

In­stead, he spoke about in­creas­ing ex­pen­di­ture to the tune of $3 bil­lion.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said it was ob­vi­ous that af­ter spend­ing $223 bil­lion since as­sum­ing of­fice, the Gov­ern­ment showed they have no plan, pol­i­cy or idea to man­age the coun­try as they con­tin­ue to bor­row mas­sive­ly and con­sume re­serves.

“The bud­get is like the bread the dev­il knead. It is a con­tin­u­a­tion of a bit­ter pill that the coun­try was asked to swal­low. It is clear more than ever Gov­ern­ment is not in­ter­est­ed in or is in­ca­pable of restor­ing or res­ur­rect­ing our coun­try.”

In Im­bert’s usu­al style, Per­sad-Bisses­sar said he con­tin­ued to blame the UNC for his Gov­ern­ment’s lack of per­for­mance.

“You can’t come in your last year to blame Kam­la. That blame game will not work.”

As cit­i­zens pre­pare to face the polls for this year’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion and next year’s gen­er­al elec­tions, Per­sad-Bisses­sar said Im­bert added a “spoon­fuls of sug­ar, spice and con­densed milk” by in­creas­ing the stipends for 8,000 On the Job Train­ing (OJT) trainees by ten per cent, rais­ing the min­i­mum wage for 194,000 work­ers from $15 to $17.50 an hour and hik­ing the wages of Cepep and Un­em­ploy­ment Re­lief (URP) pro­gramme work­ers by 15 per cent which all go in­to ef­fect from De­cem­ber 1.

While she was hap­py with the ini­tia­tives, she said the min­i­mum wage should have been in­creased to $20 an hour, giv­en the ris­ing cost of liv­ing.

The Op­po­si­tion Leader pre­dict­ed that lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion would be called in De­cem­ber, that same time the in­creas­es for Cepep and URP work­er would re­ceive their in­creas­es.

“Com­ing soon, com­ing soon, stay tuned in a cin­e­ma close to you. This has been a screen­play brought from Bal­isi­er House. It was not a bud­get. It was ba­si­cal­ly an elec­tion ad­ver­tise­ment. Man, you were there four years. You had no plan. And you come at the end of it now to tell us here is my great plan. Re­peat, re­peat, re­peat.”

The good out of the bud­get, Per­sad-Bisses­sar said was the in­crease of salaries for the low in­come work­ers.

How­ev­er, she said per­sons col­lect­ing the new $17.50 min­i­mum wage would be re­ceiv­ing more than Cepep and URP work­ers.

This, she said does not make sense.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said last year Im­bert quot­ed from Frank Sina­tra’s song “I did it my way”

This year, Im­bert pulled a line from one Bob Mar­ley’s song “Get up, stand up for what is right.”

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said in that very song, Bob Mar­ley warned that “all that glit­ters is not gold. There is no gold in there for the or­di­nary cit­i­zen. They want jobs they don’t want bulbs. They don’t want light bulbs.”

She asked if this was the “bright­est idea” the PNM Gov­ern­ment could have come with.

“Are you for re­al?”

Im­bert pro­posed to re­move tax­es from LED light bulbs for the next five years.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said she has em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence that over 63,000 peo­ple were put on the bread­line since the PNM came in­to of­fice in 2015.

“Anec­do­tal­ly we know (job loss­es) have been more. I don’t think the pub­lic is go­ing to be fooled by this, It’s an elec­tion­eer­ing bud­get. But you know what hap­pened? When is enough..enough? They ba­si­cal­ly ad­mit­ted they haven’t done enough to deal with health­care...they have not done enough to deal with cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment and cre­at­ing new rev­enue streams. That is what we should have heard to­day...how to cre­ate jobs and new rev­enue streams and foriegn ex­change.They have hid­den once and for all the un­em­ploy­ment da­ta.”

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said the year 2020 seemed like the mag­ic year as Im­bert promised to open this, that and the oth­er by paint­ing a rosy pic­ture of the econ­o­my un­der their Gov­ern­ment, when the truth is peo­ple are no longer safer in their homes, dai­ly there are hor­ror sto­ries at pub­lic hos­pi­tals and peo­ple can no longer buy food.

“Hey, lis­ten! what you could not do in four years? 2020 is just three months away. There is no more....there is no way that you are go­ing to get all of this done. What you are do­ing here is what you should have done in your first year and you would have had five years to make it hap­pen.”

Per­sad-Biss­esar said Im­bert could not fool her.

“In fact, some of the projects he told us about he did not even give a date as to when it would hap­pen. So we wait to see.”

She said T&T was not a re­al place, de­scrib­ing it as Fan­ta­sy Is­land.

Af­ter four years of promis­ing to con­tin­ue the San Fer­nan­do to Point Fortin High­way which start­ed un­der the UNC regime, Per­sad-Bisses­sar this was an­oth­er promise of “com­ing soon.”

She said while Im­bert urged the coun­try that we should nev­er let a good cri­sis go to waste, Per­sad-Bisses­sar said the biggest cri­sis fac­ing T&T is the PNM Gov­ern­ment.

“The Row­ley Gov­ern­ment that is the biggest cri­sis in Trinidad and To­ba­go.”

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #106 on: September 09, 2020, 12:18:44 AM »
Economist Dukharan predicts $20b budget deficit
JULIEN NEAVES (NEWSDAY).


ECONOMIST Marla Dukharan said she is expecting a $20 billion budget deficit for the 2020/2021 budget which will be presented by Finance Minister Colm Imbert on October 5.

She was responding to the announcement of the budget date in an e-mail response to Newsday. In April, Imbert said the 2020 budget deficit for the year was set to be an unprecedented $15.5 billion made up of the previously-calculated deficit of $5.3 billion plus $10.2 billion on expenditure/losses due to covid19.

Dukharan said while she expected an actual deficit of $20 billion for the upcoming budget, though she predicted the Finance Minister will not report at the accurate number "because he always includes one-off capital transactions which are financing items and not revenue." She said she also expected both a smaller budget for fiscal 2020/2021 and some adjustment to the exchange rate "if they do the right thing.

"I do hope they embark on some ease of doing business reforms. Also we need a medium to long term socio-economic development strategy. Have we ratified Vision 2030? Is it being executed?"

She added: "The Government has some political capital and time/runway before the next election to take the difficult measures now. I do hope they use it."

Economist Dr Indera Sagewan told Newsday she expected the revenue projection in the budget to be extremely low.

"All round there is an economic crisis. So the anticipation is that revenues from all major sources are going to contract significantly, from energy, non-energy, individual taxes, all government sources of revenue are going to contract."

She said she expected the level of expenditure to reflect this contraction. She pointed out in 2020 the fiscal deficit was $15.5 billion "and we survived."

"So there is an expectation that Government's budget for next year will reflect the reality of the economic climate which is significantly contracted."

Sagewan stressed Government will have no choice but to increase social sector support. She said there has to be saving of lives both from the health challenge of covid19 and the economic challenge as well.

She said if ,in the next fiscal year, covid19 comes under some degree of control it will be a year for fiscal stimulation. She added that, more than ever, the private sector will be constrained to be the engine of economic growth and therefore Government will have to play that role.

"If Government chooses to put that into expenditure we will therefore be seeing a very large fiscal deficit projected and will not be seeing an equivalent projection with respect to revenue. What we will be seeing is the mechanisms with which the Government will seek to meet the shortfall in revenue. And I anticipate that will be possibly through drawdowns from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund (HSF), further efforts at sale of assets, and of course increasing the public debt.

She said if there is more borrowing or drawing down of the HSF ideally this needed to be done not just to artificially maintain current living standards but to be used in structural investment that would redound to sustainable economic growth and development.

She recalled the Prime Minister in his acceptance speech election night said the next two years will be extremely difficult years but Government has a plan to ensure the "clouds clear up thereafter." She predicted budget 2021/2022 would chart the course towards that recovery even as Government attempts through social programmes and expenditure to maintain the country.

Sagewan also listed areas she would like to hear the budget speak to: agriculture, as Government has spoken a lot about it and food security, and the Finance Minister during the election campaign committed $500 million stimulus to the sector which she expected to be over and above the normal allocation; tourism, which is seriously challenged; and the digital economy and how Government intended to move TT into an age of digital entrepreneurship.

She said on one hand being the Finance Minister was not a job to be envied due to the fall out of covid19, but it was also a job to be envied as it allowed a finance minister and a government with vision and innovative ideas to craft a way forward for TT even in challenging days.

"As bad as covid is there are opportunities for creative minds to seek it out. So really it is a governance opportunity that we have upon us."


Marla Dukharan -

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #107 on: September 12, 2020, 08:27:29 AM »
Ummm if I was CI I taking the woman to the Hyatt for ah weekend and work out all the numbers

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #108 on: September 13, 2020, 02:59:38 PM »
Ummm if I was CI I taking the woman to the Hyatt for ah weekend and work out all the numbers

sexist male-chauvanist pig!  ;D

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #109 on: September 13, 2020, 08:13:59 PM »
Ummm if I was CI I taking the woman to the Hyatt for ah weekend and work out all the numbers

sexist male-chauvanist pig!  ;D

There is an apparent disconnect  with your inference and what was intended -  You have jumped to a conclusion and made alabeling remark based on your inference- Is your thinking  that derived at that conclusion-  gong to the Hyatt  is akin to having a conference and sorting out all the intricacies of numbers- that's what good logical thinking folks would do .

Don't be so quick to jump to conclusions Andy to label someone - if the woman has the answers then a minister could. Offer and be guided by expertise-As should all good thinking logical people.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 09:02:01 AM by ABTrini »

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #110 on: September 14, 2020, 01:17:37 PM »
Ummm if I was CI I taking the woman to the Hyatt for ah weekend and work out all the numbers

sexist male-chauvanist pig!  ;D

There is an apparent disconnect  with your inference and what was intended -  You have jumped to a conclusion and made alabeling remark based on your inference- Is your thinking  that derived at that conclusion-  gong to the Hyatt  is akin to having a conference and sorting out all the intricacies of numbers- that's what good logical thinking folks would do .

Don't be so quick to jump to conclusions Andy to label someone - if the woman has the answers then a minister could. Offer and be guided by expertise-As should all good thinking logical people.


Dude, you do know that was tong in cheek!

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #111 on: October 05, 2020, 03:04:38 PM »
Imbert delivers critical 2021 Budget.
By Gail Alexander (Guardian).


Trinidad and Tobago’s bracing for a possible gas price hike.

That’s what some people are doing since there’s been no assurance from Government that there won’t be any hike in the price of diesel and super gasoline in this afternoon’s Budget 2021 announcements.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert will deliver his 2020/2021 prescription for T&T at 1.30 pm at Parliament.

The 2019/2020 Budget’s theme was “Stability, Strength, Growth.” But after the “lost” economic year of 2020 following energy price shocks and COVID-19 costs, the 2020/21 Budget is expected to focus on re-engineering the economy to move on from COVID. It will also underscore leaving no one behind - something Government keeps stressing.

The Budget comes as T&T’s active COVID cases from the second wave stood at 1,839 last evening with 81 deaths so far.

At last week’s Budget forum on T&T’s financial circumstances, Imbert projected 2021 Budget expenditure of $52 billion and projected revenue of about $40 billion. These are decreased figures from the 2019/2020 Budget of $53b and projected $47b in revenue with a $5b deficit. However, subsequent energy price and COVID problems left T&T in a $15b deficit hole, Government said.

The last Budget was pegged on an oil price of US$60 per barrel and gas price of US$3/MMBTU. Yesterday’s oil price was US$39-$41 and gas price just over US$2.

Imbert and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said last week that “hard” and “difficult decisions” have to be made ahead and things which were once postponed can’t be any further. Rowley said much of what Government has been doing cannot be sustained as before - Government would have to cut to suit its cloth and may have to give up some responsibilities.

Sources yesterday said Government’s fight to balance revenue and expenditure for 2021 has attempted to have a mixture of “good” with the “bad” in the Budget. They said since no devaluation will be done – which Imbert confirmed – subsidies and transfers to state enterprises are among the few things Government can adjust to cut costs.

Over the last term, Imbert indicated intent to remove gasoline subsidies. As a result of removal, fuel prices were raised three times in 2016. It was also raised in the 2018/19 Budget. Then he’d raised the price of Super by $1 to $4.97 but left the price of diesel at $3.41. The latter was at a cost of $700m to the state. Imbert said he’d slowed de-regulation of fuel subsidies in order not to affect public transport and related items. There was no gas price hike in the Budget for the 2020 election year.

Last Saturday, sources said they were waiting to see if Imbert removes the last of the subsidies which would then increase prices of diesel and super gasoline. But sources said any price hike would be minimal. They, however, acknowledged gas price increases always drive the prices of other items upwards, since it will increase the price of transportation costs which has a trickle down effect to consumers.

After concerns by Government about carrying debts by T&TEC and WASA, sources also hinted the Budget may put citizens on notice that applications for rate increases for at least one utility may be made to the Regulated Industries Commission.

Preparations were being made by T&TEC and WASA in the last term regarding rate hikes status-wise. The T&T Guardian confirmed that TTEC’s business plan needed to apply for an increase was ready, save for finalising a gas price with the National Gas Company. WASA’s business plan was incomplete.

Yesterday, Government officials agreed any WASA rate hike would have to be considered in the context of its inefficiencies from leaks to rate collection deficiencies. A review of WASA being completed next month will help determine WASA’s state.

When property tax begins

Today’s Budget is expected to give the status of the Property Tax implementation exercises. Finance Minister Colm Imbert has made it clear the tax will be collected and it’s projected to earn about $1 billion.

A judgement is pending regarding an appeal by UNC’s Devant Maharaj on Government’s partial success with the tax law. Under the system, the tax can be collected when half of T&T’s houses – estimated at 200,000 – are on the rolls. But Finance Ministry sources said there are issues – stemming from the court matter – preventing demands for people to fill out valuation forms or show assessors their premises.

Imbert’s also expected to speak about Caribbean Airlines after the company implemented cuts and reduced staffing recently to manage pandemic effects.

Word is also expected on border reopening. Last week, the International Air Transport Association called on Caribbean and Latin countries to reopen borders and remove restrictions.

Rowley recently spoke about a “Caricom travel bubble” being opened by next Sunday. He said if T&T had an average of 20 COVID cases daily, T&T could participate in this.

Since COVID cases are beginning to see a downward trend, PNM sources speculated more of the Budget’s “good news” might come in terms of removal of other restrictions. There’ve been calls for opening beaches and other areas.

Priority Budget allocations are expected to go to National Security, Health, Education, Social Development, Housing and Agriculture.

Since Parliament’s arrangement for the Budget under COVID protocols has ruled out guests, Tobago House of Assembly chairman Ancil Dennis is monitoring the speech from Tobago.

Regardless of measures, some costs will increase. Supermarkets Association head Rajiv Diptee said last week that some supermarkets have indicated some prices hikes will be coming after the Budget. He said supermarkets are doing their best to absorb incremental price increases on food items and talks were on with suppliers to find “workarounds,” as there will be cases where increases are as a direct result of the Budget.

Yesterday, several experts—including Roadmap Recovery member Vasant Bharath—and other groups warned Imbert on the effects of certain measures, suggesting alternatives.

BUDGET 2021 PLUS SIDE

* PM Dr Keith Rowley’s assured priorities will be maintained from social sector spending (to support those unable to care for themselves), job creation, development opportunities for youth and debt servicing.

* Finance Minister Colm Imbert said devaluation and public service retrenchment isn’t being done “at this time.”

* Government removed VAT on computer and similar electronic devices and software for online teaching.

* Details expected on energy boundary expansion and sector which Rowley said is being done.

* Recommendations from the Recovery Roadmap committee will form a significant part of Budget contents.

* In sharper diversification thrust, emphasis on agriculture for food self-sufficiency after COVID affects on world food stocks, solar energy-powered facilities.

*Construction to kickstart the economy including housing development and other projects.

* Facility to promote project management businesses for T&T workers/resources to become employed locally and internationally.

* Focus on tourism for possible markets by 2022, despite the toll COVID has taken on travel. Other tourism-dependent islands have promoted markets with innovative offers.

* THA’s seeking $4.71b from the Budget. The ANR Robinson terminal project is expected to begin. Tobago is getting two passenger ferries later this year and next year and another cargo vessel due December. THA elections expected by end of January.

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Re: T&T Budget Thread.
« Reply #112 on: October 06, 2020, 12:46:21 AM »
Imbert covers all in $49b Budget package.
By Gail Alexander (Guardian).


A mixed Budget bag for another challenging year.

Freeze on public sector hiring, VAT on apples and so-called “luxury” foods, curb on vehicle importation, mandatory Property Tax information—and possible WASA and T&TEC rate hikes ahead.

But also: people earning $7,000 and less won’t be paying tax, free laptops and Mi-Fi devices for needy students and a slew of incentives to expand technology business and jobs for youths.

Plus plans to privatise the Port Authority operations and sell National Petroleum gas stations.

These were among plans which Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced in his 2021 Budget yesterday. In a three-hour-plus address to the Parliament, Imbert promoted his package.

“This Budget reflects our understanding of the requirements of our country for the medium-term to ensure that our economic recovery is as strong as possible,” he said during the Budget, themed “Resetting the Economy for Growth and Innovation.”

The package is meant to kickstart T&T to move on from the past fiscal year’s crisis caused by energy price shocks and COVID-19 pandemic costs.

Some immediate comments indicated the package wasn’t as bad as Government’s recent warnings on the economy had led people to believe it would be. Others, like UNC’s Vasant Bharath, said it was “lacklustre, nondescript, uninspiring and directionless.”

The 20201 Budget expenditure is set at $49.73 billion and revenue projected at $41.364 billion - both less than 2020 Budget levels. Imbert projected the deficit as $8.2 billion.

The Budget is based on an oil price of US$45 per barrel and a gas price of US$3 per mmbtu.

Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago

Imbert said 2020 was an exceptionally difficult year and the deficit for that was $16 billion—some $10b more than anticipated for that year. Financing of that deficit, just over $6 billion, has been withdrawn from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund.

Education received the highest allocation in the Budget—$7.937 billion.

Tobago, where House of Assembly elections will be held in January, received $2.34b, slightly more than the $2.283 allocated in the 2020 Budget.

Imbert said 2021 is expected to be another challenging year but Government’s objective is to keep the economy stimulated and keep “as many people employed as possible. The longer the economy remained at rest, the longer it would take to get going.”

First among announcements, Imbert put the public on notice for collection of the Property Tax next year.

He said: “Government has been working assiduously to produce the required Valuation Rolls notwithstanding numerous challenges. To expedite the process and validate information on the Valuation Roll, the Commissioner of Valuation will in the near future be making mandatory requests of property owners under Section 29 of the Valuation of Land Act for the provision of information in an appropriate format.

“The objective is to commence the collection of Property Tax in fiscal 2021, starting with residential properties. We continue to assure property owners the rates will be both fair and reasonable and will not present an onerous burden on them. Taxation of commercial, industrial and agricultural properties will follow, in that order.”

In the Government sector, he said effective October 6, “we’re freezing the filling of all vacant posts in the public sector for one year.”

OFFICE OF THE PARLIAMENT

Other announcements he gave on T&TEC and WASA have prompted concern on possible price increases ahead.

On T&TEC, he said, “We consider that the upcoming tariff review should result in increasing levels of tariffs for electricity supply as being essential for enhancing investment and for ensuring a reliable distribution and transmission system.”

On WASA, Imbert noted a Cabinet Sub-Committee is now focusing on issues which are impeding the authority from meeting T&T’s needs.

“The committee will review WASA’s operations, including its unsustainable debt position, its ageing pipelines, its governance structure and the inadequate water distribution,” Imbert said.

“We envisage a report by November 30, which would include recommendations with respect to levels of investments adequate to the needs of an efficient water supply and we will take such decisions, including a tariff review, which are necessary for WASA to raise the water supply to our communities”

While Imbert announced no gasoline price hike, he confirmed a liberalisation of the fuel market from January 2021, when fixed retail margins for all liquid petroleum products will be removed. Petroleum retailers and dealers will be allowed to fix their own margins then.

He added, “Wholesale margins will remain fixed for the time being and an appropriate but reasonable tax will be introduced to compensate for the current fuel surplus that is generated on the sale of gasoline because of depressed oil prices.

“The net result should be little or no increase in the price of motor fuels at current oil prices. However, if the price of oil recovers, the price of gasoline and diesel will naturally increase proportionately.”

In this plan, Imbert also announced all NP gas stations will be put up for sale with first option to existing dealers.

To increase the VAT base, Finance Minister Imbert said the 12.5 per cent tax will now apply to luxury imported foods from January.

“... Such as lobster, escargot, smoked salmon, pâté, clams, strawberries, champagne, apples and grapes from January 1,” he said.

Imbert also announced moves to curb demand for purchase of new/used cars, which he said was costing T&T $2.5 billion per year in foreign exchange.

“To correct this unsustainable situation and suppress demand, as opposed to an outright prohibition, we propose to remove all tax concessions on the importation of private motor cars. All private motor cars will now attract customs duty, motor vehicle tax and Value Added Tax, with the lowest rates of duty and tax being imposed on hybrid cars, electric cars, CNG cars, and small engine cars below 1,500cc, to encourage their use. This begins October 20.”

But tax concessions will remain in place for commercial and industrial vehicles and public transport vehicles.

He added, “Further, in January 2021, the permissible age of imported foreign used cars will be reduced to three years and the quotas for the importation of used cars reduced by 30 per cent. A quota system will also be introduced for the importation of new cars in January 2021.

Imbert also announced increasing the personal income tax exemption limit from $72,000 to $84,000 per year starting January—those earning $7,000 a month or less will now be exempt from income tax. He said this will stimulate the demand side of the economy.

Along with initiatives to assist online teaching, Imbert said $50 million is being allocated to provide laptops for needy students.

In recognition of the fact that the creative sector is the last to reopen, Imbert said artistes will get a $5,000 grant. The Salary Relief Grant for other people will also be extended to December.

He announced a 10-year housing plan with offerings costing from a low of $250,000 to $1.5m for young upwardly mobile buyers.

Imbert also clamped down on cigarette usage. Noting T&T spends $500,000 per year to treat one lung cancer patient, he said, “We’re introducing disincentives to constrain smoking habits.”

Excise and customs duty on tobacco products will be increased from October 20. All penalties for selling alcohol and tobacco to minors will also be increased from January 1, 2021.

OFFICE OF THE PARLIAMENT

On plans to privatise the Port Authority, he said Government decided to adopt the approach with the Port retaining its regulatory and asset management functions, but with managerial, operational and financial responsibility for commercial activities - such as terminals and equipment in the port area—under a new investor.

“The Works Ministry will take immediate steps to rationalise by the end of fiscal 2021, the operations of the Port and introduce a private sector operator into the Port handling operations, leaving the ferry service to the T&T Inter-Island Company Limited.

Retirement age may move to 65

Finance Minister Colm Imbert painted an optimistic picture of T&T’s path and the energy sector.

But he said looking forward, “there is a high degree of uncertainty about our economic recovery and medium-term outlook. I’m in no doubt the full success of programmes and policies which I’ve just laid out would depend on our containment of the COVID virus; more so on a medical breakthrough with the availability of affordable, safe and effective vaccines.”

“But we’re assured that with firm and decisive management focused on the main elements of our economic programme, we will emerge in much better shape in 2021-2022,” he said.

Imbert said consideration will be given to extending the retirement age to 65 in proposed legislation to maintain the National Insurance Board and its facilities. He called for Opposition support for this legislation as well as for others on the T&T Revenue Authority, gaming sector, the National Statistical Institute, Procurement and Public Administration operations.

Imbert, who spoke from a plastic-shielded speaking booth - under COVID protocols- encountered Opposition cross-talk throughout his address. Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar will reply on his Budget on Friday morning.

Imbert said the projected revenue for the budget was $41.364 billion and projected expenditure was $49.573 billion. The deficit is expected to be $8.209 billion.

It is based on an oil price of US$45 and a gas price of $3 per MMBtu.

National security: $5.227 billion

Education: $7.973 billion

Health: $6.050 billion

Local Government:$1.642 billion

Works and Transport: $2.956 billion

Agriculture: $1.198 billion

Housing: $1 billion

Public Utilities:$2.091 billion

« Last Edit: October 06, 2020, 12:47:58 AM by Flex »
The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.