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Friday 23 August 2019
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Tobago budget on June 24

Joel Jack
Joel Jack

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) fiscal package for 2020 will be delivered on June 24.

The announcement was made by the assembly’s Secretary of Finance and the Economy Joel Jack on Thursday as he addressed reporters during the weekly post Executive Council media briefing at the Victor E Bruce Financial Complex in Scarborough.

Jack said the package would be heavily influenced by the medium-term policy and planning framework of the assembly for the period 2019 to 2023.

He said the Comprehensive Economic Development Plan for Tobago (CEDP 2.0) came to an end and, as such, the Assembly embarked on the preparation of a medium-term policy and planning framework that would guide the its affairs over the next four years.

Jack said, “The key objectives proposed by the framework includes creating jobs and employment especially in the private sector, improving productivity through appropriate infrastructural development, capacity building within the private sector, improving food and energy security and restoring growth and promoting diversification.”

These objections, he said, “are all inter-related and are mutually reinforcing and will impact every industry and every economic sector, as well as all aspects of Tobago’s social life.”

He added: “These medium-term objectives are also aligned with Vision 2030, the National Development goals and also the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the UN.

“I can also tell you that we’ll be placing some emphasis on fostering innovation and ICT, tourism investment, education and human capital development and we’ll also be updating persons on the Tobago Infrastructure Investment strategy and as well as the Integrated Financial information systems and as well as ACH.”

Jack said call circulars were issued to all divisions of the assembly, as divisions were mandated to submit their estimates by the end of April.

“Our next focus, thereafter, would have been convening the necessary meetings with our stakeholders as we hosted a series of consultations with them to solicit their views for inclusion in this years’ 2020 budget statement."

He said in preparing for the presentation, a series of meetings were held with the business sector, Tobago Agricultural Society, Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association, Tobago Unique Bed, Breakfast and Self-Catering Association, as well as youth organisations throughout the island.

Jack said the consultations were also extended to several state enterprises.

Before the presentation, Jack said he would also be convening meetings with the TT Manufacturers Association and the American Chamber of Commerce as “we seek to signal to the national and international business community that Tobago is open for business and as well as we solicit their views, as we seek to attract investment to the island in the areas of tourism, as we seek to attract businesses to establish a presence at the Cove Eco Industrial and Business Park”

It will be Jack’s seventh budget, and the third under Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles. The budget is to be presented at 10 am.

In 2018, the assembly requested a total of $4.5 billion from Central Government, however they were allocated $2.229 billion ($1.97 billion for recurrent expenditure, $231.63million for capital expenditure and $18 million for URP).

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