Opportunities present in economic challenges

“Affordability before desire.”

That’s the mindset Chief Secretary Orville London is hoping Tobagonians will adopt for 2016.

Late last month, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley outlined the challenging economic situation in  Trinidad and Tobago in the next few years. The Prime Minister said all government agencies, as well as the Tobago House of Assembly, will have to reduce planned expenditure by seven percent.

THA Chief Secretary Orville London said adjustments must be made, and the THA will lead the way in that regard.

“Times like this present challenges, but they do present opportunities for us,” London said, during yesterday’s (January 6, 2016) media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall. “That is the mindset in which we’re operating. A mindset that allows us to facilitate change.”

The Chief Secretary said an executive order will be sent out by THA Chief Administrator Raye Sandy next week. The document will reinforce procurement guidelines and make the “entire process more robust.” London said the document will allow for a “common approach to all the Divisions and all the units of the Assembly.”

This will ensure the THA gets value for money.

“There will be a greater degree of rigour with the issue of grants and financial assistance, with the issue of overseas trips, with the issue of expenditure on functions, especially in the areas of hospitality, decor and infrastructure, and with the purchase of minor equipment.”

Other issues will include rentals, including vehicles. London said the THA will also put greater emphasis on negotiating goods and services and look at other areas where it can save money, including its electricity bills.

Finance Secretary Joel Jack said the seven percent cut has reduced the “Assembly’s allocation of 2.779 billion dollars. It will be reduced by 192 million dollars.”

The Secretary indicated that the THA has plans to minimise the effects of economic uncertainty in Tobago, and to treat with budgetary gaps.

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