Friday 3 April, 2020

Banker's Association has high hopes for 2018/2019 budget

The Banker’s Association (BATT) says it feels optimistic about the future of Trinidad and Tobago’s economy following the reading of the 2018/2019 budget delivered by Finance Minister Colm Imbert in the House of Representatives on Monday.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, BATT says it is pleased that the budget is focused on ongoing fiscal consolidation and targeted support for non-energy sector activity.

The Association says it is encouraged by projections for a smaller budget deficit estimated at 2.5% of GDP, as well as policies which wean the economy off its over-dependence on hydrocarbons.

In that regard, BATT says the proposed tax credit for incremental foreign exchange earnings by firms in the manufacturing sector is welcomed.

Meanwhile, BATT notes that while the further reduction in the subsidy on super gasoline will increase the transportation costs for many, it is hoped that the Government will increase its efforts to provide cost-effective alternative public transportation options to the travelling public. 

At the same time, BATT says it welcomes the delivery of enhanced support to the vulnerable, low-income families and the pensioners.

It also appreciates taxation measures outlined by the government.

“BATT endorses all of the measures aimed at reducing taxation leakage and increase collection. The new measures designed to improve compliance will add to the national coffers and keep the government on its path of tax reform.”

But, the association says it looks forward to seeing how swiftly the revenue authority will indeed be operationalized and its success at efficient tax collection.

There were also some concerns raised on the budget.

“While the budget was silent on productive sector reform in respect of reducing the cost of doing business in critical sectors, BATT looks forward to increased efforts towards this objective,” the statement said.

 

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