The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will submit a $5.3 billion budget request to Central Government for the next fiscal year.
Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development Assemblyman Joel announced the figures disclosed this in his fourth Budget presentation to the Assembly Legislature on Tuesday (June 21, 2016). The theme of the 2017 Budget is “Maximising Opportunities in a Challenging Economic Environment”.
The budget presentation includes $3.209 billion for recurrent expenditure and $2.03 billion for the development programme, as well as $80.3Million for the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) and $54 million for the Community- based Environmental Protection Enhancement Programme (CEPEP).
Jack said he expects that, consistent with the provision of the sixth schedule of the THA Act No. 40 of 1996, there will be other items of expenditure that will be funded by government ministries and other state agencies in Tobago at substantial cost.
These “off budget” items include the construction of the new terminal at the ANR Robinson International Airport; the construction of the Old Grange and Roxborough Police Stations; the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant; the drilling of additional wells; a Desalination Plant at the Cove Eco-Industrial and Business Park; and the expansion of the Power Generation plant at Cove.
The Assembly’s budget will be financed from revenue—both tax and non-tax items—to the tune of $270.9 million, subventions from the central government, borrowing and bond financing, a Tobago savings fund, public private partnerships, multilateral support and other revenue enhancement measures.
Jack said he is proud of what has been achieved over the past few years.
“Despite considerable odds this Administration has performed exceedingly well to improve the quality of life of Tobagonians and to advance the island’s development,” he stated. “During our tenure, we managed the economy prudently as evidenced by an improved quality of life and the visible signs of improvement across the island.”
Jack said the Assembly has invested in infrastructure for Tobago’s roads and the education and health sectors, as well as community and recreational facilities. The THA’s social programmes, he added, have all been geared at supporting the vulnerable groups in society.
The Secretary stated that while the economic challenges remain at the global, regional, and national levels, an improved relationship with Central Government, marked by better collaboration and mutual respect, will enhance efforts to develop the island.
“We are confident that with the new political environment much more will be achieved for the people of Tobago,” he stressed.