In reforming the tax structure, Government has to look at the property tax, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran said yesterday.
He said the 2012-2013 budget has bold measures to encourage development in new sectors, has measures to support the plight of working people and has sustainable measures to keep the fiscal equation intact. The (Finance) Minister has to be complimented for getting the balance of all these things, the former finance minister stated.
However, Dookeran said there was a need to look at the tax system and the inclusion of property tax in the reform programme for the future.
"I know that people would say 'property tax was something you opposed. But there is need now to look at that ... and to include energy (taxation reform) because there are serious challenges there. And you have to do that in a very significant way."
Speaking in the budget debate in the House of Representatives, Dookeran also said the report on the East Port of Spain growth pole has been completed.
He said East Port of Spain would be the centrepiece of the sustainable cities programme ... the technical work had been done and a full report has been presented to Government.
Dookeran dismissed PNM statements that this Government had no plan.
"We said we would not fool ourselves into believing that raising a document '2020' and saying 'this is a plan' means we have a plan," he said.
Dookeran said the Government has been able to open up a new dialogue with international lending institutions with respect to their windows of support for small economies and particularly Caribbean economies.
He said Government argued that these institutions' prescriptions were premised on the notion that the shocks in the Caribbean were temporary. However, the truth is that the Caribbean's economic history has shown that the countries have already experienced shocks.
"And therefore it was misdiagnosis on the part of the international financial institutions to assume that our shocks were temporary and therefore the measures they had put in place were not relevant to the situation before them (the countries)."
He said the strength of the Caribbean economy has been its ability to withstand shocks.
Dookeran said that culminated in a recent meeting in Port of Spain with the international lending agencies to examine these issues, "to say yes, they have misdiagnosed these issues".