THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine is hoping for a high budget allocation when the 2023-2024 budget is presented.
Minister of Finance Colm Imbert has announced that October 2 is budget day. The Assembly has requested $4.54 billion from the central government.
Questioned by reporters on Wednesday about his expectations, Augustine said Tobago would love if the figure this year was closer to 6.9 per cent as recommended by the Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC), rather than the lower end of 4.03 per cent.
“The country would love it if something unusual happens and we get closer to the medium point of around five per cent.”
He added: "I am hopeful that in this budget God will speak to the Minister of Finance in the middle of the night, trouble his sleep, cause him not to sleep day nor night until he comes to that resting place of deciding that Tobago should get closer towards the medium point of the range recommended and approved by the parliament in the DRC report of 2001.”
For fiscal 2022-2023, the THA requested an allocation of $3.97 billion from central government but received $2.5 billion. In making the announcement, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the sum represented 4.3 per cent of the $57.6 billion budget. He said it was consistent with what the PNM-led administration in the THA was provided with between 2016 and 2021. He said $2.194 billion was allocated for recurrent expenditure, $300 million for the THA’s development programme, $18 million for URP and $9.2 million for CEPEP, representing an increase of $185 million over the previous year’s allocation of $2.336 million. In addition, he said the THA would have had access to $135 million in loan financing for its development projects from a loan finalised in previous years. He added the government had also arranged approximately $100 million in loan financing from the Development Bank of Latin America for coastal protection work in Tobago.