AMCHAM T&T RESPONDS TO THE MID-YEAR REVIEW
AMCHAM T&T has considered the Minister’s Statements in the Report on the Finance Committee and acknowledges that the Government is on budget at this point in the fiscal year. We also note that this will still require significant deficit financing at the end of this period. The minister articulated that within current circumstances we are on track to achieve fiscal balance by 2020. That said, there is much time between today and fiscal 2020 and our expectation is that the Government will maintain the current course to ensure balance by year the 2020 or before. Further, in curtailing expenditure, our hope is that low spend is not linked to an inability to execute or non-implementation of plans and programs, but rather a result of real savings.
Within the presentation, the Minister of Finance addressed measures being taken on the implementation of the Property Tax. While the focus in the interim is on residential properties, it is our hope that there will be adequate discussion on industrial property tax prior to its implementation. Earlier articulation surrounding the tax on industry suggests that there may be a negative impact on re-investment and new investment.
We also note that the Minister recognized increased tax revenue from the SPT. In previous presentations, the Government committed to a review of this tax in an effort to boost oil production. Ultimately boosting oil production will lead to greater revenue and we urge the Minster to make the necessary revision of the SPT in the 2017/2018 National Budget.
The Minister has also requested that the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago give priority to trade and manufacturing. This is, as we understand, the status quo and will unlikely result in any significant change. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago needs to articulate a clear set of long-term plans and initiatives to address these and other issues to inspire greater confidence in the local economy.
As always, we remain committed to collaboration with the Government and other stakeholders as we represent our members’ views and work collectively in the interest of our country.
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