Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 16th 2016 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
for 15TH SEPTEMBER, 2016
Consumers are already bracing for
increased food and transportation
prices as Finance Minister Colm
Imbert gets set to read the budget on
Among the key announcements
expected are the possibility of subsidies
on fuel, transportation, and other sec-
tors being completely wiped out or
The impact will increase the cost of
living directly and already low and mid-
dle-income citizens are reeling in fear
of what could be in the budget.
One homeowner, Carol Bryce, told
the T&T Guardian she feared when the
budget was presented things would get
"extremely hard and middle-income
earners will have to dig deeper into
their pockets, especially if fuel subsidy
is removed or reduced further."
"It will affect us big time. It will
mean you have to spend more on food
and transportation and your standard
of living will drop," she said.
Bryce, 63, of Couva, already antic-
ipates she will have to make cutbacks
in supermarket and market items, as
well as use of utilities.
"I will have to cut my telephone at
home because that bill is $500 a month
and reduce my use of electricity because
the bill is $1,200 for the two-month
She said: "The first thing I will stop
using is my dryer. Our water use is
Bryce already makes homemade
bread and juices.
She said buying food would be taken
off the menu and her family would
have to look at "other small changes
to ensure we can continue to save some
money. That would mean giving up
cable," she said.
Another homeowner, Glenda Peters,
a public servant, currently spends
$4,000 a month in the supermarket
and $1,000 in the market.
She says she also spends money on
healthcare and $16 a day to travel to
and from work. She said her family
lives comfortably "because I have a son
who is also working and he helps with
the bills but even so we will have to
In recent times, prices have been
"going up and I have started cutting
back on spending so I now look for
specials in the supermarket and when
I find them I buy extra so that I don t
have to buy the next time I go," she
She is worried that from October
prices will increase. "I expect my gro-
cery bill to double if not triple," she
Small luxuries, like a getaway week-
end to Mayaro which used to cost
$1,500, would have to stop because she
would no longer be able to afford it,
she said. However, she considers herself
lucky in that she has no children in the
"Then I would have to find a way to
get money to fund at least part of their
education," she said.
Buying food once a week was a lux-
ury which "will have to stop"
, she said,
as would visiting friends and family on
weekends "because you will have to
consider how much money you spend-
ing on fuel."
Bryce is hoping that despite the tough
economic times, Government will con-
sider the impact of measures to be
"We, middle-income families, always
take the hit and have to bear the brunt
of the changes," she said.
"However, I will still find a way to
help people who come to me for help...
a neighbour who needs a little money
or relatives who may need help. I will
have to have avenues open to help oth-
ers," she added.
See more budget stories on Pages
A4 and A5.
Carol Bryce fears the budget will cause her to dig
deeper in her pocket.
With the 2017 budget on September 30...
be wiped out
The State spends annually over $34.7 billion
in subsidies and transfers.
The objective is to make things a little better
for citizens who may be hard pressed to afford
the full price of goods and services, for example
the subsidy on the water taxi, the inter-island
ferry, the airbridge to Tobago and Public Transport
The State s housing stock is also subsidised as
well as the Water and Sewerage Authority rates
which supplies the country s water to the tune
of $2.25 billion.
State subsidies to the Trinidad and Tobago
Electricity Commission come in the form of
repayment of loans.
Official Government documents indicate that
on the books Government is repaying T&TEC s
loans to National Gas Company to the tune of
$316.5 million in 2016. That figure has varied in
the past three years. In 2015, the figure was $325
million and in 2014 $334 million.
Caribbean Airlines was subsidised to the tune
of $92.1 million for 2016.
But there are many other transfers and subsidies
which go widely unnoticed.
fuel may be hit
OTHER KEY PAYOUTS
• AIRPORTS AUTHORITY: $210 million
• NATIONAL CARNIVAL COMMISSION: $262.6 million
• UDECOTT: $754 million
• NATIONAL SECURITY: $498.5 million
• HEALTH: $3.6 billion
• PETROTRIN: $2 million
• TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO OIL COMPANY: $2 million
• TTMF: $2.3 million
• INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE: $35 million
• ALUTRINT OPERATING EXPENSES: $2 million
• CARONI: $14.8 million
(Source 2016 Budget Estimates of Expenditure)
'It will affect us big time. It will mean you have to spend more on
food and transportation and your standard of living will drop.
I will have to cut my telephone at home because that bill is $500 a
month and reduce my use of electricity because the bill is $1,200
for the two-month period.' ---Carol Bryce
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