THE Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives approved an $80 million supplementation for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) when it met virtually on Monday to discuss budget estimates for fiscal 2021.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert said $50 million of this funding was for recurrent expenditure, and $30 million was for Tobago's public sector investment programme. He said part of the $50 million recurrent expenditure concerned the full operationalisation of the new Roxborough Hospital and the Moriah Health Centre.
Imbert also said this money also concerned settling debts owed by the THA to the national ambulance service and the national helicopter service.
With respect to Tobago's ability to respond to covid19, Imbert said $10 million has been allocated for acquiring personal protective equipment, medical equipment and supplies for the balance of this fiscal year.
Imbert said the THA has a programme similar to the National Entrepreneurship Development Company Ltd (NEDCO) grant programme in Trinidad, which is used to help entrepreneurs and small businesses in Tobago.
"We are allocating $5 million for the balance of the fiscal year to the THA, for what they call their Enterprise Assistance Grant Programme."
Imbert also spoke about lots the THA was developing in the Shirvan Road area for small-business development, for which $25 million will be used.
Imbert told UNC MPs he would not entertain claims from them about THA expenditure that were based on hearsay.
Answers to questions they posed on this matter, he said, would be provided to them before the House next sits on Wednesday from 1.30 pm.