13. 05. 2019
AMCHAM T&T CONCERNED ABOUT GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE
AMCHAM T&T believes the focus on expenditure as opposed to results remains a major flaw in our country’s budget reporting process.
We welcome the news presented by the Honourable Minister of Finance from the Central Statistical Office (C.S.O) on the growth figures during the first three quarters of 2018. We look forward to the final growth figures for the year, so we can settle that discussion and focus on further growth generating activities.
While the macro-indicators have stabilized and the economy is indeed growing, our GDP is currently hovering around 2009 levels, so the economy is still in a relatively fragile place, especially since economic growth is so closely tied to increased natural gas production.
Against this backdrop, we are concerned about what appears to be a policy reversal on the part of the Government to start ramping up spending without concurrent increases in income. The Minister of Finance’s announcement that the deficit will be increased by a further half a billion dollars is of concern to us. AMCHAM T&T believes that at this time the focus should be on building and strengthening the economy by using our resources to engage in activities that bring value for money, without increasing the level of public debt.
The Minister has stated that the outstanding parts of the Public Procurement Legislation will be proclaimed in August 2019. We note, however, that previous deadlines have passed without the legislation being proclaimed, as such we remain cautiously optimistic that this deadline will be met in an attempt root out corruption in the state sector.
We welcome both the proposed tax amnesty as well as the commitment to ensure the establishment of the T&T Revenue Authority.
As always, AMCHAM T&T stands ready and willing to work with the Government on improving the business environment underpinned by robust rule of law to create more equitable socio-economic development with greater levels of opportunity for all.
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