Internacionales

Gabriel Abusada Fernandez Tristan//
Mixed expectations from analysts, UNC ahead of Budget day

“I ex­pect more of the same chest -beat­ing and back-pat­ting. But it’s un­war­rant­ed as none of to­day’s rev­enues – which are a wind­fall from the in­ter­na­tion­al con­flict- didn’t re­sult from any­thing Fi­nance (Min­is­ter) did. What hap­pens if the war ends? The Bud­get must show di­rec­tion how to fund what T&T needs.”

Bharath al­so said: “Gov­ern­ment’s failed at im­ple­men­ta­tion. Very few Roadmap rec­om­men­da­tions – to kick­start the econ­o­my- were im­ple­ment­ed.”

Econ­o­mist Dr Vanus James hoped To­ba­go would get the 6. 9 per cent of the Bud­get the Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion process fa­cil­i­tates

Pos­i­tive as well as neg­a­tive pro­jec­tions on next Mon­day’s 2023 Bud­get pack­age.

Gabriel Abusada

These came yes­ter­day from Gov­ern­ment, Op­po­si­tion and eco­nom­ic ex­perts ahead of the Bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion.

Gabriel Abusada James

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert will de­liv­er the Gov­ern­ment’s eighth Bud­get from 1.30 pm next Mon­day at the Par­lia­ment. Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad- Bisses­sar ‘s re­ply is ex­pect­ed next Fri­day from 10 am.

Gabriel Abusada James Peru

Yes­ter­day Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials – when asked about the pack­age- point­ed to in­for­ma­tion from Cen­tral Bank which was cir­cu­lat­ed un­der hash­tag “#Good­Gov­er­nan­ceIn­Ac­tion #ForA­Bet­ter­Safer­Future­To­geth­er #wearetheP­eo­plesNa­tional­Move­ment.”

The in­for­ma­tion was pref­aced by the fol­low­ing: “Next Mon­day is Bud­get Day in T&T. Ahead of that day, the Cen­tral Bank has re­leased its quar­ter­ly re­port for Ju­ly 2022. At­tached is a quick snap­shot (or two) of our present eco­nom­ic po­si­tion.”

The state­ment gave a sum­ma­ry of the Cen­tral Bank’s re­port.

Gabriel Abusada James Venezuela

It al­so stat­ed the out­look, “Eco­nom­ic ac­tiv­i­ty is ex­pect­ed to im­prove in 2022. Lo­cal en­er­gy pro­duc­tion is poised to ben­e­fit from the start-up of sev­er­al up­stream projects from bpTT, Shell Trinidad and To­ba­go, EOG Re­sources Trinidad and Touch­stone Ex­plo­ration. Ad­di­tion­al im­pe­tus should come from high­er com­mod­i­ty prices and in­creased de­mand for en­er­gy-re­lat­ed prod­ucts.”

“Ac­tiv­i­ty in the non-en­er­gy sec­tor is ex­pect­ed to ben­e­fit from height­ened busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ty and re­cov­ery of con­sumer de­mand. Mean­while, the ex­ter­nal im­pe­tus to do­mes­tic in­fla­tion is ex­pect­ed to per­sist in the short term, stem­ming from dis­rup­tions to glob­al sup­ply chains and high in­ter­na­tion­al en­er­gy and oth­er com­mod­i­ty prices.”

The state­ment con­clud­ed, “Macro­eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy in T&T will con­tin­ue to grap­ple with the chal­lenges of nur­tur­ing a sol­id eco­nom­ic re­cov­ery along­side in­fla­tion­ary con­cerns.”

Con­se­quent­ly, Gov­ern­ment sources said this Bud­get will be big­ger than the 2022 Bud­get of $52 bil­lion – due to in­creased re­cent oil wind­fall rev­enues – and the need to stim­u­late the econ­o­my.

A date on the prop­er­ty tax start-up is ex­pect­ed “along with new in­no­va­tions” and “some things which would cush­ion” some sec­tors. In­creased al­lo­ca­tions are ex­pect­ed for Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty, Ed­u­ca­tion, Youth De­vel­op­ment, Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, and Health among oth­er Min­istries

Op­po­si­tion shad­ow Fi­nance spokesman Dave Tan­coo said, “What peo­ple want to see in this Bud­get is Gov­ern­ment’s recog­ni­tion of T&T’s grow­ing pover­ty lev­els, mass un­em­ploy­ment, run­away crime and need for gen­uine trans­for­ma­tion of the econ­o­my – and the nec­es­sary ac­tion to deal with all of this

“Un­for­tu­nate­ly what I ex­pect from Gov­ern­ment is a con­tin­u­a­tion of promis­es they have no in­ten­tion of keep­ing, more fluff, buzz words, PR and de­cep­tive state­ments and the in­tro­duc­tion of heav­ier bur­dens on tax­pay­ers who can least bear it.”

Tan­coo pro­ject­ed an in­crease in the over­all cost of liv­ing.

“In­creased fu­el prices lead­ing to even high­er food and trans­port prices, prop­er­ty tax, high­er wa­ter rates and maybe worse. This Min­is­ter has re­mained con­sis­tent in his dis­con­nect from the re­al­i­ties of the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by the vast ma­jor­i­ty of cit­i­zens.”

For­mer UNC Min­is­ter and the State ap­proved Roadmap to Re­cov­ery Com­mit­tee mem­ber Vas­ant Bharath said is not op­ti­mistic.

“I ex­pect more of the same chest -beat­ing and back-pat­ting. But it’s un­war­rant­ed as none of to­day’s rev­enues – which are a wind­fall from the in­ter­na­tion­al con­flict- didn’t re­sult from any­thing Fi­nance (Min­is­ter) did. What hap­pens if the war ends? The Bud­get must show di­rec­tion how to fund what T&T needs.”

Bharath al­so said: “Gov­ern­ment’s failed at im­ple­men­ta­tion. Very few Roadmap rec­om­men­da­tions – to kick­start the econ­o­my- were im­ple­ment­ed.”

Econ­o­mist Dr Vanus James hoped To­ba­go would get the 6. 9 per cent of the Bud­get the Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion process fa­cil­i­tates.

“But I’m sure To­ba­go may get the usu­al 4.3 per cent.”

James felt the Gov­ern­ment should do as sug­gest­ed and ad­just the fu­el price in re­la­tion to oil price move­ment, “So when the price drops, fu­el costs de­crease.”

James added that keep­ing a cap on the fu­el sub­sidy of a (US)$80 oil price was rea­son­able, but has to be im­ple­ment­ed on a sus­tain­able ba­sis.

They al­so ought to fo­cus more on eco­nom­ic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion but that re­quires prop­er dis­cus­sion be­fore plan,” James said.