Expect a tough National Budget on Monday, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Senator Allyson West, told reporters yesterday at the Opening of Parliament at Tower D, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain. People must recognise the new reality of the country’s tighter economic situation, she said. Much focus will be brought to bear on tax compliance, so that everyone pays their fair share, to the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) under pending TT Revenue Authority (TTRA).
Asked for an adjective to describe the Budget, West replied, “I think it’s going to be a tough Budget, as was suggested in (Wednesday’s) session. We have to get to the point where we acknowledge that we are not in the best of situations and that everybody needs to contribute to get us out of it.
“So, that warning was signalled when we had the ‘Spotlight’ earlier this week, and the Budget will reflect that. But I don’t think it will be as austere as people believe it will be, but it will be up to you to judge when you hear it.”
Told of alleged pre-Budget panic on Facebook pre-Budget, West calmly replied, “There are hundreds of things that come out on Facebook which one should not believe. I’d suggest we have until Monday, just a couple more days, so let’s take it easy and not assume that what we see (online) is correct.” She urged all to wait to see what Finance Minister Colm Imbert actually brings on Monday. Asked to say the hardest part of the Budget, she replied, “I tink the most challenging part is to try to balance it.”
She expected a “significant improvement” in people’s tax compliance to pay a fair share so as to even the spread of the tax burden, especially when the TTRA takes root.