The upcoming national budget 2014/2015 in September will be one that will ensure the country continues on a path of growth, says Finance Minister Larry Howai.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair yesterday, Howai — when asked if the budget will be one with a general election in mind next year — said: “The thing is for the budget as a whole we will certainly try to maintain the position of continuing the growth momentum of the economy, we certainly want to ensure that whatever we do can be sustainable over a period of time.”
He said: “We want to ensure that the macroeconomic fundamentals that we have will continue into the future.”
With respect to the country’s billion-dollar fuel subsidy, Howai said while this remained a concern, it must be dealt with to minimise any dislocation within the economy.
Howai said it was not just an arithmetic issue of removing the subsidy from the equation as its removal had commercial and economic impacts as well as a social impact, in particular on lower income groups.
He said a CNG solution was in place to lower the impact and give businesses time to adjust.
Howai also announced that on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s request, he asked the chief personnel officer (CPO) to come up with a schedule of negotiations for the protective services over the next two weeks so these matters can be concluded in the soonest time.
He said negotiations for 2008 to 2011 were concluded last year and the CPO immediately started on the 2012 to 2014 period and there would have been discussions and proposals.
He said the CPO has agreed and will start negotiations with the protective services on a phased basis.