The Tobago House of Assembly will present a budget of $5.67B to the Central Government, which the THA hopes will be more sensitive to Tobago’s needs in fiscal 2016.
The Assembly also wants $78.3 million for the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) and $54.1 million for the Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP).
The THA is hoping to finance its budget through tax revenues of $254 million, non-tax revenues of $1.02 million and subventions from the central government. It will also explore raising development bonds and a public private partnership programme.
Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development Assemblyman Joel Jack presented the budget themed “Continued Delivery in Challenging Times” to the House of Assembly and a packed public gallery. It was carried live on radio with a delayed telecast.
The recurrent estimates for fiscal 2016 require a total expenditure of $3.36 billion, including personnel expenditure ($971 million), goods and services ($1.15 billion), minor equipment purchases ($104 million) and transfers and subsidies ($1.13 billion).
The recurrent estimates for each Division fiscal 2016 are:
Assembly Legislature – $27 million
Office of the Chief Secretary – $229 million
Finance and Enterprise Development – $253 million
Tourism and Transportation – $302 million
Education, Youth Affairs and Sport – $546 million
Community Development and Culture – $195 million
Infrastructure and Public Utilities – $596 million
Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Marketing and the Environment – $287 million
Health and Social Services – $850 million
Settlements and Labour – $39 million
Planning and Development – $36 million.
Jack explained that the estimates of recurrent expenditure represent an increase of $227.4 million over the estimates for 2015. This is due mainly to higher wages and salaries for public officers of $122.8 million, as well as an increase of $81 million in goods and services and $21.5 million in current transfers and subsidies.
According to Jack, the estimates for the Development Programme for fiscal 2016 amount to $2.31 billion, a decrease of $104.7 million from the fiscal 2015 request to the Central Government and $1.84 billion over the revised 2015 estimates.
This includes estimates for the following areas: pre-investment ($20 million), productive sectors ($7.31 million), economic infrastructure ($930.1 million), social infrastructure ($852 million) and multi-sectoral and other services ($499.3 million).
Debate on the budget will be held on Thursday at 10 a.m.