August 23, 2014

$47 billion budget for Trinidad and Tobago

Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran began his presentation of a $47 billion (US$7.4 billion) 2011/2012 Trinidad and Tobago National Budget in the House of Representatives in Port of Spain on Monday.

He said the 2012 budget calculation was based on an oil price of US$75 per barrel and a gas price of US $2.75 per mmbtu. He said there is an estimate of real GDP growth of 1.7 percent and an average inflation rate of 7 percent.

The total revenue is projected at $47 billion comprising $18.1 billion from the energy sector and $28.9 billion from the non energy sector.

Total expenditure is projected at $54.6 billion resulting in a fiscal deficit of $7.6 billion or 4.89 percent of our GDP. The debt to GDP ratio remains sustainable and well within international benchmarks.

Some of the budget highlights as announced by the minister are:

The Deposit Insurance Corporation will increase its deposit insurance coverage limit from $75,000 to $125,000 for deposit holders of commercial banks and non-banks licensed under the Financial Institutions Act 2008;

Minimum National Insurance retirement pension will be increased to $3,000 per month during fiscal year 2012;

Waiver on the payment of penalties and interest on outstanding contributions to the National Insurance Board until June 30, 2012;

THA to be allocated $2.2 billion;

The Scarborough General Hospital to be delivered before Christmas 2011;

Single mothers who are sole caregivers with a special child to receive grant;

Differently-abled will qualify for support under the Food Card Programme;

All disabled who wish to enter the labour market to get $5,000 scholarship under the Rise Up Programme;

Long standing applicants to the HDC to get priority for housing;

Reduction in mortgage rates from the TTMF from 6-8 percent to 5-7 percent;

In 2012 4,450 housing units to be completed;

GATE programme to be under rigorous pay for performance rules to get value for money;

Biggest slice of the Budget will go the Ministry of National Security – $5.1 billion

Hope to conclude outstanding public sector negotiations shortly for the period 2008 – 2010, before the People’s Partnership time in Government;

Negotiations for 2011-2012 period will have social dialogue if there are to be mutually acceptable settlements;

Other members of protective services including the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, Fire and Prisons to also receive an incentive monthly allowance as currently being received by police officers;

Modernise the Central Statistical Office to provide real time statistics;

Timely VAT refund payments;

E-payment system for payment of taxes and goods.

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