Former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine sharply refuted Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s claim that energy firms might pay no taxes for the next seven years, as he said that the tax-break on capital allowances will expire at year end, under a sunset clause imposed by former finance minister Larry Howai.
Ramnarine spoke at the San Juan Business Association post-Budget panel discussion on Wednesday at Maritime Plaza, Barataria. He said TT can have a bright future even with depleting hydrocarbons, by using its geographical position to establish itself as an energy hub to service the emerging oil/gas sectors in Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana, Grenada and eastern Venezuela, by supplying maritime logistics.
“Let Trinidad and Tobago become to the Caribbean what Aberdeen is to the North Sea.” Likewise, Ramnarine urged TT to emulate Dubai. “The Jebel Ali Port, the eighth largest in the world, is a logistics hub. That is the model for TT, and it doesn’t require any oil or gas.”
Another speaker, former planning minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie, said the budget lacked ideas for the economic growth, expansion and development of TT. He lamented any solution to crime and a lack of impetus to employ ICT to build the economy.
He urged the education system be changed to create a more innovative population. Tewarie said the thinking behind Imbert’s Budget was ocated in the Stone age, not in a forward-looking world of ICT, artificial intelligence and genetics. “We must make our human capital connect with that future,” Tewarie urged. He said the Budget did not once say the word “recession”, far less suggest how TT emerge from it.