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.
Caribbean News Now