Chamber: Tobago's development will struggle for funds

Curtis Williams -
Curtis Williams -

Chairman of the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce Tobago Division Curtis Williams has hinted to challenges regarding Tobago’s $2.585 billion allocation in the 2024 budget.

On Monday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert made the presentation in the House of Representatives. For Tobago, he said $2.298 million had been allocated for recurrent expenditure, $260 million for the development programme and $18 million for the Unemployment Relief Programme.

Imbert said the allocation was $64.2 million more than last year's. In June, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) requested $4.54 billion.

Speaking on Tobago Channel Five’s morning show, Rise and Shine, on Tuesday, Williams pointed out the challenges questioning where the money would come from for development projects.

“When we look at the breakdown of the funds we receive, we see under development there is not much there – nothing at all. So we know for sure that, under development for the island, there is going to be some challenges.”

He said the bulk of the funds had gone to goods and services and recurrent expenditure.

“So we know it is going to be a little tight for the THA definitely moving forward in terms of development for us here on the island. They would now have to use other mechanisms to raise funds to take care of the development.”

He said coming out of the past regime, there were some contractors that needed to be paid. He said there are couple millions outstanding for contractors, the whole ripple effect.

“These contractors owe sub-contractors and hardwares so hence the reason why the lobbying is there for them to be paid. There must be some sort of provision in place to pay these contractors.”

He said when the increase in minimum wage goes into effect in January, there would also be some ripple effect. Government has increased the minimum wage by 17 per cent, with effect from January 1, 2024.

“I welcome the minimum wage increase – all these projects now would have to be re-tendered because companies would tell you now, okay, we need an increase to supplement that increase by the minimum wage. The ripple effect, the expectation of employees is that if you raise the guy lower down, you’re suppose to raise me as well. The expectation is that we would all have a $3 increase or a 17.5 per cent increase throughout.”


"Chamber: Tobago’s development will struggle for funds"

More in this section