Howai, London discuss Tobago budget shortfall
Tobago’s budgetary allocations, financing options for the funding gap, and the increasing need for data on economic activities in Tobago were among the critical issues discussed yesterday when Finance Minister Larry Howai met with Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Orville London in Port of Spain.
The meeting came together as a continuing measure to maintain close collaboration between the Central Government and the THA, a release from the minister’s office stated.
Howai said: “We discussed a number of very important issues related to development for Tobago including Tobago’s budgetary allocations, financing options for the funding gap, the increasing need for data on economic activities in Tobago, the identification of taxes paid arising from activities undertaken in Tobago, the training of staff in the Finance Division of the Tobago House of Assembly, Caribbean Airlines support for the tourism sector and several related matters.
“This meeting is one of several that will support a very strong collaborative relationship between both offices.”
Expressing his appreciation for the development requirements of Tobago as raised by the Chief Secretary, Howai said: “For 2014, the total recurrent and capital budgetary allocations requested by the various ministries and departments amounted to $113 billion.
“This compares with budgeted revenues of approximately $50 billion. In the circumstances, most ministries received on average 50 per cent of the amount requested.
“Similarly with Tobago, I have a deep appreciation for the structure of the development priorities and the needs which come from their strategies.
“That appreciation notwithstanding, the allocation had to be balanced against available resources and an alignment to medium and long term development priorities.”
He added: “The amount allocated to the THA met the requirements under the Dispute Resolution Agreement and was also in line with the overall allocations to various ministries and departments.
“We must also be guided by the need for fiscal discipline in policy implementation and the need to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long term.”