Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 7th 2014 Contents A7
September 7, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Finance Minister Larry Howai to deliver budget tomorrow
'Nothing to fear'
So there has been a significant improve-
Similarly, in the environment, a lot of
work has been done in the area of refor-
estation and it is not something that is
widely known, but I think they replanted
more than 1,000 acres of forest cover in
a couple of years. That is something that
is very positive and perhaps we need to
make a little more of it because a lot of
people do not know much work is actually
being done in that area.
If I should get a little personal, Mr
Minister, you came from a very successful
career in the private sector; did you have
any difficulty in making that quantum
leap into the public sector?
Well, actually, the public sector is a lot
more bureaucratic. In the private sector
you are able to make decisions a lot quicker,
a lot faster. In the Government, the whole
process through which things have to go---
and also the size and complexity of min-
istries---you would find that it is extremely
difficult or it takes a lot longer to get to
a decision and to implement that deci-
Senator, would the budget provide
additional funding and incentives for
alternative energy sources?
We have given a number of incentives
for alternative energy sources. In this budget
we would also continue that process and
would seek to provide those incentives to
move ourselves in that direction. The thing
is that we are faced with legacy systems;
for example, we may say, okay: if you bring
an electric car to Trinidad we could waive
VAT or something, you know, but that is
a new car.
What happens to hundreds of thousands
of people with their existing cars? You
cannot say: throw away your car and go
get a new car. The issue for us is how to
deal with the legacy system and that is
where the challenge is in terms of formu-
lating solutions; gradually we have to move
in that direction.
The health sector is still a problematic
one and it has always been a critical issue.
Would that area be allocated more donzai
in the upcoming fiscal year?
Health is one of the major areas that
was identified by the Government when
it came into office in 2010...an area that
needed attention. There has been a sig-
nificant investment in the physical structure
and we have to continue those investments.
In other words, we have several major proj-
ects now under way and we have to con-
tinue to provide funding to ensure that
those investments are brought to fruition.
How much, Mr Minister, do the cre-
ative industries contribute to this coun-
try s GDP?
They remain an important part of our
own diversification of the economy. They
generate foreign exchange earnings and
diversifying the economy is a process that
would take some time. We are heading in
that direction with some speed; in the
financial services sector we are starting to
be more diversified to become a bigger
part of the economy.
Finally, sir, what about this tax amnesty
to benefit the business sector?
Well, it is not so much an amnesty as
much as it is the creation of tax free zones
and companies do come into those zones.
I expect as we go along we continue to
see opportunities for that to take place.
From Page A6
Health is one of the
major areas that was
identified by the
Government when it
came into office in
2010...an area that
Chief Secretary of the Tobago
House of Assembly Orville Lon-
don has high expectations for
Tobago when Finance Minister
Larry Howai reads the budget
Speaking at the recent post
executive council news confer-
ence, London said they would
evaluate the overall budget allo-
cation. "We re hoping that this
year that the allocation does not
break the law. All administrations,
their allocation to Tobago is pri-
marily based on the decision not
to break the law, as the law states
that Tobago must get between
4.03 and 6.9 per cent, so to give
us less that the 4.03 is in fact
breaking the law," he said.
London said based on past
trends, the requested amount is
not likely to be given to the THA.
In the 2014/2015 THA budget
estimates presented in June by
Secretary of Finance and Enter-
prise Development Joel Jack, $5.6
billion was requested.
"I am aware of the demands
made on any minister of finance
and I don t think that there is
any ministry or unit that would
get what it requested. It is not
only about the quantum of the
allocations, but also about the
opportunities that you give us in
Tobago to do what is necessary
for our own development," he
When asked what figure Toba-
go was expecting, London did
"I am not going to go down
that road... because what I am
expecting is going to be that the
minister is going to be guided not
only by the arithmetic, but also
the development opportunities,
and the overall needs of the peo-
ple of Tobago," he said.
"It is not just about the allo-
cation, it also has to do with
opportunities for development. I
am hoping that among the areas
which the Minister of Finance
would deal would be support for
the Tobago House of Assembly
in its efforts to access the requisite
funding for its development proj-
ects, because we know that what-
soever is allocated would not be
sufficient to give us the kind of
leverage to ensure that our devel-
opment projects are completed."
He noted that the THA was
looking for support towards the
Public, Private Partnership pro-
gramme, an idea which he said
the minister embraced at the
"I hope that they will be more
sensitive to the needs of Tobago,"
Following the national budget
presentation in Trinidad, the
THA is expected to be read its
own budget for that island in
London optimistic about allocation for Tobago
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