Thursday 26 November, 2020

Businesses want Gov't to provide recovery plan in budget review

Photo via Facebook, the Office of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo via Facebook, the Office of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

Businesses are hoping to see measures that will ensure economic recovery and the retention of staff when Finance Minister Colm Imbert presents the Mid-Year Budget Review in Parliament this afternoon.

The review is expected to chart the way forward for recovery, particularly in light of the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

CEO of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce Gabriel Faria said the Chamber hopes the Minister will address how the fiscal support efforts and the disbursement of long overdue refunds and payments to suppliers will be treated.

He said while the Chamber recognises the review is being done against the backdrop of uncertainty in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it looks forward to seeing revenue projections based on recent energy prices.

Faria added that it is the Chamber’s hope that the Government will act responsibly and not use overstated 2019 profits on which to base tax revenue.

He said this will bring about more realistic revenue projections which will, in turn, drive a more pragmatic approach to spending wisely.

Faria said the task at hand is to restart the economy responsibly and work collaboratively to make bold moves to bring about transformation and reduce the country’s dependency on energy.

He said the Minister may be tempted to make short-term decisions with the approaching general election, but pledged the Chamber’s support to ensure transparency and accountability.

Meanwhile, President of the Supermarket Association Rajiv Diptee said Government must ensure that incentives are put forward for the maintenance and retention of staff, as well as economic stimulation.

These incentives, he said, must attract private and public sector appetite in the wider scope of job creation.

He noted that particular care must be taken to ensure that the burdens faced by families are eased at this time, as COVID-19 restrictions have left many reeling financially.

Diptee said: “While the government attempts to steady the macro economy, great care must be paid to the micro economy where many companies and businesses have had to take haircuts to cut their overhead expenses.”

Taking into consideration the strain on smaller businesses, he said he hopes there are no increases in green fund, business levy and corporation tax. He called for a review on these taxes to be paid by small and medium enterprises including startups.

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