AMCHAM T&T RESPONDS TO THE 2019-2020 NATIONAL BUDGET PRESENTATION
AMCHAM T&T listened with interest to the national budget statement. We applaud the efforts towards digital transformation of the public sector, in particular the linking of the birth certificate personal identification number to the death registry with the objective of simplifying pension payments. We also note similar efforts in the licensing department and encourage acceleration and deployment of digital transformation across the wider public sector, which we believe will aid in improving the ease of doing business.
We also note that civil matters would be given dedicated space in the-soon-to-be vacated waterfront building. We hope that this will also lead to speedier resolution of commercial disputes. We also hope that the freeing up of the High Court to deal with more criminal matters will result in timelier delivery of justice for all.
A third noteworthy area is the new tax incentives for the development of the agricultural sector but we seek clarification on whether this applies to farmers or corporations or both. We are unsure that this will be enough to stimulate the sector as other concerns such as irrigation and praedial larceny still need to be addressed.
We also applaud the announcement of the Styrofoam ban and look forward to its implementation. Further environmental positives include the initiatives supporting enhanced energy efficiency, for example tax incentives for solar heaters and the planned changeout of regular to LED light bulbs.
However, we are uneasy that the government is increasing expenditure and again planning a fiscal deficit in 2020. This follows a year in which the government’s revenue was bolstered by more than $5 billion in one-off revenue yet resulted in an almost $4 billion deficit. AMCHAM T&T would like to see a clear link between revenue and expenditure patterns with a view towards realistically achieving a balanced budget in the near future. This must be placed in the context of the government’s medium-term policy framework with special emphasis on sustainable growth and improving the ease of doing business.
We lament that the budget presentation did not address the ease of doing business in a more deliberate and tangible way.
These are our initial comments and we look forward to hearing further details as the Budget debate continues.
For further questions or comments please contact: Nirad Tewarie, CEO AMCHAM T&T at email@example.com or 728-8274
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