Chief Sec: 'THA to take legal action on $166m owed by government'

File photo of THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine - Photo by David Reid
File photo of THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine - Photo by David Reid

CHIEF SECRETARY Farley Augustine says his administration is taking legal action to get some $166.4 million which the government owes the THA in approved parliamentary allocations over the past few years.

The THA is also pursuing legal action to ensure governments give the assembly an annual budget allocation commensurate with its development agenda.

“Madam Presiding Officer (Abby Taylor), notwithstanding the public utterances from the Minister of Finance (Colm Imbert) and his Tobagonian colleagues in the Parliament, the calculations reveal that the THA is owed a total of $166.4 million in approved parliamentary allocation that has not been transferred to the THA,” Augustine said on Thursday.

He was moving moved a motion in the Assembly Legislature to reprioritise the THA’s 2023-2024 budget allocation.

In the Tobago budget in June, the THA requested $4.54 billion from central government to manage its affairs over the next year, but only received $2.585 billion in the national budget on September.

Exactly a year ago, on November 24, 2022, at a plenary sitting, Augustine accused central government of not disbursing the THA’s full fiscal allocation from the budget over the past five years.

On that occasion, he claimed the THA had consistently received shortfalls, which amounted to $138,925,658.

Augustine also said then that he had asked staff at the division to do a reconciliation and verification on the releases of the parliamentary allocation of the THA for fiscal years 2016-2022. He claimed shortfalls were reported.

On Thursday, Augustine said his administration has spoken to Imbert several times about the issue, to no avail.

“My administration has been having discussions with the Minister of Finance on this matter over the last two years without any material success. Madam Presiding Officer, the time for futile talking has expired.

“We are now at an advanced stage in our preparation for legal action and preparations of complaints to invoke the jurisdiction of the Dispute Resolution Commission (DRC) provided for under section 56 of the THA Act 40 of 1996.”


"Chief Sec: ‘THA to take legal action on $166m owed by government’"

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