Sunday, February 25, 2018

Howai faces extensive budget list

FINANCE Minister Larry Howai met yesterday with his ministerial colleagues to discuss the September 8 Budget—the last before the next general election.

Howai said there was no guarantee all issues raised by Cabinet members would  be addressed.

Howai was speaking at a post-Cabinet news conference at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital yesterday. 

He said among the “extensive list” of issues were revenue generation, more assistance for the youth, elderly, differently-abled persons,  housing, the minimum wage and food prices.

 He said the issue of flooding in Port of Spain needed to be addressed with urgency.

Howai  also said he requested additional information from Works and Infrastructure Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan about female workers being underpaid in the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP).

He said more meetings will be held in the upcoming weeks before the budget is read on September 8.

 “As Minister of Finance, I can’t say that we will address all or any of those issues. Nevertheless we will take them into consideration. These all have to be evaluated in more detail and we have to determine the policy implications and also the implications of the suggestions that were made.

“The feedback that I have from the technical staff at the ministry is that we will continue to maintain our trajectory as far as the reduction in the budget deficit is concerned. We have given a commitment we will reduce it by a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of one per cent on an annual basis. We did that last year,” Howai said.