Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 9th 2015 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 9, 2015
The Government is awaiting information
from the Central Statistical Office (CSO)---
expected in a few weeks---on the Central Bank
governor s recent statement that T&T is in
a recession, Finance Minister Colm Imbert
Last week Central Bank governor Jwala
Rambarran said T&T was in a recession and
the full-blown effects would be felt from early
Replying to Opposition questions on that
posed by United National Congress (UNC)
Senator Wade Mark in the Senate yesterday,
Imbert said the official source of determining
the situation with the economy was the CSO.
He said the Central Bank was not a source
of economic data.
"We re checking with the CSO to determine
any concurrence regarding the Central Bank
governor s statement," Imbert said.
He noted that in the 2016 Budget he had
said the CSO had projected a one per cent
growth in the economy for 2015 while the
Central Bank had said there was a one per
He added that for the last 40 years, through
all governments, the authoritative source for
economic data was the CSO.
"Consequently it would be premature and
precipitous to accept the Central Bank s state-
ment without checking the CSO first," he said.
On when the CSO s information would be
obtained, Imbert said one did not rush to con-
clusions but expected in a few weeks the CSO
would give him the "answers I require."
On Mark s query about findings arising from
the recent visit of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) team to T&T---on the Govern-
ment s invitation---Imbert said the visit was
an informal one and not an official IMF mis-
He said findings were currently being dis-
cussed at the IMF s head office in Washington,
DC, United States. He said it was expected
that the IMF would undertake its usual visit
in the first half of 2016 for the normal Article
IV consultation when talks would be held with
Imbert said many of the IMF s findings dur-
ing the team s September visit found its way
into the 2016 Budget and many of the findings
were consistent with Government s "take" on
the state of the economy following the People s
Pressed by Mark on the findings, Imbert
reiterated various issues concerning the econ-
omy which he said were found by the IMF
and which confirmed the People s National
Movement (PNM) Government s suspicions
of "PP mismanagement."
On Mark s query about declining foreign
exchange reserves, Imbert reiterated that the
level was US$10.3 billion in September and
now stood at US$9.6 billion following the
recent TT$500 million injection of funds into
He said T&T had 11 months of import cover.
He said the international benchmark was three
months cover and T&T was therefore above
He said the Government was monitoring
the situation and the 11 months of cover meant
there was "no need for anything precipitous
at this time."
An "underground" trans-
portation system linking City
Gate, Port-of-Spain, and
Cocorite, in the west, as well
as tramways, light rail and
monorail are among mass
transit systems being eyed in
preliminary examination for
such a system, Finance Min-
ister Colm Imbert said yester-
He gave the information in
reply to queries from Opposition
Senator Wade Mark in the Sen-
The People s National Move-
ment (PNM) proposed in its
manifesto a mass transit system
to deal with daily traffic con-
gestion on the roads.
Government s Physical Infra-
structure Committee, chaired
by the Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley, recently viewed a broad
overview presentation on such
systems, Imbert said.
He said Government was
awaiting a more detailed report
from the Inter-American Devel-
opment Bank (IDB) on T&T s
transport needs and the coun-
try s circumstances. This is
expected by February next year.
Imbert confirmed that the
intent, if the project is approved,
is to fund the system via an IDB
He said feasibility was key to
acceptability of a mass transit
system. Also significant, he
added, was if a system would
be compatible with local infra-
structure, its cost effectiveness
and returns, without being a
drain on the Treasury.
If plans were deemed feasible,
an investment decision would
be made by September, next
year "but not without thorough,
meaningful public consulta-
tions," he added.
If Government proceeded
with it, tenders would be out
and a contract awarded by the
end of 2017 and the system
might "kick in" (sic) by 2018,
He said an IDB team which
recently visited T&T looked at
a number of options, ranging
from light to heavy rail systems,
monorail, electric rail, under-
ground, above-ground, tramway
and bus systems.
Also discussed were costs,
construction challenges, what
type of trams, light rail, under-
ground or other type might
He noted a suggestion regard-
ing an underground system link-
ing City Gate to Cocorite. Also
examined, he said, were the type
of vehicles involved and possible
disruptions that could arise.
The number drawn yester-
day on CNC3 Crime Watch for
the Read Watch Cash Promo-
tion was 004286.
Our Read Watch Cash Pro-
motion team is now in search
of a new winner.
If the number at the back of
your yesterday s T&T Guardian
was 004286 you have won
You have until 3 pm today
to come to the T&T Guardian
head office, Rodney Road,
Endeavour, Chaguanas, with
the newspaper containing the
winning number (in the order
it was drawn), and photo iden-
tification to claim your prize.
Remember to keep your
"today s paper" and tune into
today s Crime Watch on CNC3
...awaits CSO statistics
Imbert cautious on bank's recession talk
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, centre, during
yesterday's sitting of the Senate at Tower D,
International Waterfront, Port-of-Spain.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Mass transport system ready by 2018---minister
On Mark's query about the list of Value Added
Tax (VAT)-rated items, Imbert said Government
had almost finished identifying the list of items
which would be subject to VAT. He said
Government was looking at zero-rated items and
determining what were essentials, basic, and luxury
items based on the basket of goods on which the
retail price index was pegged.
Replying to Mark's queries on transfer pricing
legislation ahead, which Imbert had announced for
multinational companies in the Budget, he said that
would apply not only to foreign companies doing
business in T&T but also local companies doing
business with any foreign subsidiary or affiliate
which might charge expenses to avoid tax.
Government expects to formalise legislation
before the end of 2016. Over 100 territories have
implemented such legislation to halt revenue
leakage. He said Government had not yet quantified
the level of leakage but would be able to via an
audit which could take two to three years.
Imbert said revenue leakage could occur in a
multitude of ways, which, he said, multinationals
could use to duck transfer pricing and avoid tax
levels. Imbert said transfer pricing systems would
require tax specialists.
Read Watch Cash
jackpot now $6,500
Links Archive December 8th 2015 December 10th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page