TT Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) head Tricia Coosal hailed the budget for boosting local businesses by assisting their ease of doing business, but urged a continuation of VAT refunds.
The TTMA issued a statement on Tuesday on Finance Minister Colm Imbert's presentation in the House of Representatives on Monday.
She hailed the Government's partnership and dialogue with the private sector to stabilise and grow the economy after the impact of covid19 and the Ukraine war, as shown by news of real GDP growth of two per cent and non-energy-sector growth of two per cent.
“The importance of ensuring the ease of doing business was once again stressed by the minister via the pledge of digitisation though the strengthening of the single electronic window and implementation of the electronic fund transfer framework to allow businesses to make payments to the government by the business community." She welcomed these initiatives.
Coosal added, “TTMA has advocated for a more efficient tax-collecting mechanism, stressing the importance of widening the tax net as opposed to further burdening the already compliant population of the country."
So the TTMA looked forward to the TT Revenue Authority starting its work in 2023 and anticipated that this would bring greater efficiency in tax collection.
Coosal looked forward to Phase 3 of the state-of-the-art industrial park at Phoenix Park, which could bring many synergies to the TTMA’s annual Trade and Investment Convention.
She declared, “The Government’s initiative to further the operationalisation of the manufacturing apprenticeship programme and the export booster initiative as well as increasing the allotment of the foreign exchange facility at Exim Bank are pleasing deliverables.
"The Government continues to signal the trust it places in the manufacturing sector to continue within a framework or public-private partnership to lead the charge on diversification of the economy, as evident by the 17 per cent increase in exports."
She keenly anticipated details of the Exim facility, which has greatly helped exports in the TTMA.
TTMA supported Caricom's goal to cut the region’s food-import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, including a $300 million allocation to agricultural incentives and infrastructure.
"Additionally, the rebate of $25,000.00 for the implementation of renewable wind and solar energy in agriculture will support the further development of this sector."
She welcomed the $500 million in government support for long-term guarantee schemes for SMEs, guaranteeing 80 per cent of loans for up to ten years. This guarantee, plus a rise in ExporTT’s maximum grant fund facility from $250,000 to $340,000, will boost SMEs’ competitiveness and their contribution to the exports of the non-energy sector.
Noting the Government’s $4 billion in VAT payments in 2022, she said, “The association hopes the disbursement of VAT refund continues rapidly in the coming fiscal year, since the SME sector specifically suffers significantly from cash flow when payments are outstanding. As a result, TTMA looks forward to a continued rollout for its members, in a timely manner, for fiscal 2022-2023."
Imbert was due to participate in the TTMA's post-budget event on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain.