The Tobago House of Assembly has been allocated the minimum 4.03 per cent of the $65B budget.
For fiscal 2015 its budgetary allocation is $2.609B of which $2.202B will be for recurrent expenditure to pay salaries and wages to workers, $384M for capital expenditure, and $23.0M for the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP).
This was disclosed by Finance Minister Larry Howai during his two-hour presentation of the 2015 national budget in the House of Representative on Monday. He said:
Mr. Speaker, I now turn to Tobago. First of all, I wish to place on record that, consistent with the provisions of the Tobago House of Assembly Act, the required budget documents were transmitted by the Tobago House of Assembly within the timeframes specified under the Act.
I wish also to express my appreciation to the Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of
Assembly, the Honourable Orville London, for his constructive proposals relating to the administration and development of Tobago – proposals which he shared with me during the course of a consultative meeting between the Tobago House of Assembly and the Ministry of Finance and the Economy. The useful insights of the Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development, the Honourable Joel Jack, have also been helpful.
This meeting as has become customary among ourselves was conducted in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect.
This Government will continue to collaborate with the Tobago House of Assembly and the Ministry of Tobago Development as they boost development and change in Tobago.
We are heartened by the continued recovery of its key sector: tourism. The island is witnessing increased visitor arrivals, both international and domestic, with the resulting improvement in hotel and guest house occupancy rates.
We welcome the increased tourism marketing efforts by the THA to attract not only foreign and domestic tourists but also to expand international airlift.
With domestic tourism rapidly expanding, Caribbean Airlines is strengthening its policies and systems with a view to ensuring a greater alignment between demand and supply on the domestic air-bridge. The diversification process in Tobago will continue through adequate allocations for the development of the Cove Eco-Industrial and Business Park and for the Enterprise Assistance Loan and Venture Capital Fund.
The Tobago House of Assembly is collaborating with the Ministry of National Security to ensure that the rich tourism product of Tobago is enjoyed in a safe and secure environment. Manpower shortages in the Police Service are being addressed and two police stations are being constructed at Old Grange and Roxborough.
We are acutely conscious of the developmental needs of Tobago and we will collaborate with the Tobago House of Assembly on its utilization of public-private partnerships for delivering key infrastructure and associated services.
An immediate project to broaden and to deepen the recreational choices for visitors to
Tobago and to provide much-needed amenities for fisher-folk as well as boat owners, including power and sail yachts in Tobago and in Trinidad will be the establishment through a public-private-partnership of a world-class marina at Petit Trou Lagoon located within the Tobago Plantation site at Lowlands.
The Ministry of Finance and the Economy and the Tobago House of Assembly have agreed to meet at regular intervals to address any issues that might arise during the next fiscal year.
For fiscal 2015 the budgetary allocation for the Tobago House of Assembly is $2.609 billion, of which $2.202 billion will be for recurrent expenditure, $384 million for capital expenditure, and $23.0 million for the Unemployment Relief Programme.
Furthermore, under the various other heads of expenditure, Tobago will receive an additional amount. In total therefore Tobago will receive $3.7 billion or the equivalent of 5.7 percent of the national budget. We remain committed to the recommendations of the Dispute Resolution Commission.