ECONOMIST Vanus James, in reaction to the $52.429 billion budget read by Minister of Finance Colm Imbert, said not enough was provided for the development of Tobago.
Speaking on the allocation of $264 million, James said it was only one tenth of what was really needed to develop Tobago and have it utilised in the development of the nation as a whole.
“The allocation reinforces the idea that the minister has no grasp of what the Tobago economy could be all about if it is going to contribute to national development,” he said. “You can’t fund a serious development programme with $264 million. They missed the boat here again.”
He also said government has to bring forward proper legislation for the autonomy and self-determination of Tobago, with appropriate boundaries, and have a constitutional definition of financing arrangements in relation to the legislation.
“That is what would tell you what is appropriate,” he said.
“If you did that, you would end up with about $2 billion allocated for development spending in the Tobago space.”
In the reading of the budget on Monday, Imbert proposed the budgetary allocation for Tobago should be $2.357 billion, of which $2.035 billiion will be for recurrent expenditure, $264 million for capital expenditure and $18 million for URP.
Imbert said the budgetary allocation for Tobago would provide financial assistance to properties to upgrade establishments. Government also created a new programme designed to help hoteliers and tourism businesses in Tobago recovery from the covid19 pandemic. The allocations will also provide for development in Tobago’s agricultural sector and improvements to road and drainage infrastructure.