The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce said yesterday they would like to see the Government take an aggressive position in the upcoming budget on switching to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and away from the fuel subsidy.
Speaking to the media at the Chamber's Columbus Circle, Westmoorings office, CEO of the chamber Catherine Kumar said the Government has been talking about switching to CNG but to date nothing has been done.
"Two budgets now we have been hearing about the CNG and they will put in CNG stations. Seven were supposed to be done, none have come into fruition. They spoke of putting PTSC on (CNG), they spoke of putting the port on (CNG) and they have not come to fruition. We were given a time line and ways in which that will be possible" Kumar said adding that the main drain on the fuel subsidy was diesel.
She said that the current budget process does not allow for checks and balances for some of the things promised in the budget that never gets done. Following a meeting with the Minister of Finance Larry Howai, the Chamber, Kumar said, asked a for a mid-year review and for the Government to give timelines so the public will be able to hold the government accountable for what they have promised to do and where they have reached with proposed initiatives.
Other budgetary items discussed Kumar said were crime and its effect on the economy.
She said one of the focuses this year was on crime since there will be no stimulation of the economy if crime continues as it has been holding back investment.
Some of the ideas proposed by the Chamber included the use of technology which will integrate all Government agencies to assist police in their crime fighting.
Concerning diversifying the economy, Kumar said the Chamber had discussions with Minister of Tourism, Stephen Cadiz about capitalising on tourism. She added that agriculture is another aspect to be included.
Asked about proposals for stricter measures in the budget, President of the Chamber Andrew Sabga said the country cannot continue to run on a deficit budget and will welcome these measures.
"We believe gone are the days when we need to borrow to sustain our spending. We welcome them and hope that they are not too hard on Trinidad and Tobago" Sabga said.
Asked about Petrotrin workers strike action, Sabga said the Chamber was very concerned and does not endorse that form of resolution. He hoped that calmer heads prevail and the workers resolve their issues through other channels.