Point Fortin Chamber responds to budget
THE Point Fortin/South Western Chamber has said it was forced to adopt a wait and see approach to the promises made in today's 2014 budget presentation.
Following is the Chamber's reaction to some of the measures outline in the budget:
ITEMS WE FEEL VERY POSITIVE ABOUT:
1. Improvement in Ease of doing business: “T&T’s ranking has improved from 76 in 2011 to 69 in 2013”. Our members await further details on the measures that would be put in place to further improve the ease of doing business.
2. SME’s: comprise 85% of registered businesses. This is also the same in the SW peninsula:
a. Tax incentives proposed since 2012 are now being looked at
b. VAT refunds to be made in the legal time frame.
c. Fair Share program to be reviewed, to enable SME’s to be better involved
3. Security: More frequent highway patrols and greater visible police presence overall.
FEEL POSITIVE, BUT “WAIT & SEE”:
1. ExIm Bank to be restructured. Capitalized with injected funds over the next 4 years to enable easier export lending
2. Land & Building Tax: phased- in valuations over 2014-2017 in 3 phases
3. Diversification of the economy through the MOU with China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd for additional port and dry-docking facilities. We are hoping that includes the Brighton Port in La Brea.
1. Diversification: Growth Poles: “The Government has already begun a similar study for the Southwestern peninsula growth pole to determine opportunities for growth, investment and regional clusters. This project is focused on urban development, agriculture, fishing and tourism.” Not enough is being done in this area for the SW Peninsula, if “Studies” are still being conducted two years later
2. Infrastructure: Point Fortin Highway
Still no word on the start of construction from the Point Fortin end, or time to completion.
3. Health Sector
The Point Fortin hospital was again mentioned, this time mixed up with seven others that were seemingly thrown into a “basket of hospital projects.” This is the Fourth year in a row that the Point Fortin Hospital has been mentioned, and up to now we have no time frame for construction.
We look forward to presentation of the details, as the different Ministers delve deeper into their implementation plans.
Point Fortin/South Western Chamber