Finance Minister, Colm Imbert’s 2019 budget presentation included updates on highways and other infrastructural projects, Petrotrin, tourism projects and job creation.
The total revenue for 2019 is budgeted at $47.72 billion and expenditure is budgeted at $51.77 billion. The budget is predicated on an oil price of US$65 per barrel and gas price of US$2.75 per mmbtu.
Click here to view the Budget Statement 2019 “Tunaround”- Budget Statement 2019
Key takeaways from the 2019 budget:
- Super gasoline has increased by $1 from $3.97 to $4.97 per litre.
- The Government’s six economic game-changers: 1. The Dragon Gas deal 2. The success of the NIF 3. Petrotrin restructuring 4. Sandals Tobago 5. Drydocking facilities in La Brea 6. Revitalising the interisland sea bridge, including buying two new fast ferries.
- Health centres in remote areas will open 24/7, starting with Grande Riviere, Blanchisseuse and Cedros from January 1, 2019.
- The economy is forecast to grow by 1.9 per cent in 2018.
- Another NIF bond coming in 2019.
- There will be an increase by 100 per cent on all fines in relation to offences under the Children Act. Imbert reported that 14,581 cases of child abuse reported to the Children’s Authority over a three-year period.
- Restructuring the police service and placing more emphasis on electronic and cybercrime. Dashboard cameras in all police vehicles; laptops and tablets, body cameras and non-lethal options for dealing with confrontations. Rewards of up to $100,000 for information on most wanted criminals and a $2.5m increase for Crime Stoppers.
- Increases in the value of the food card and grants for the disabled and vulnerable.
- Housing: 1,845 units to be built by 2021 and a housing bond which will allow subscribers preferential treatment in HDC allocations.
- Thousands of jobs to be created, mostly in South Trinidad, including via projects to be completed in collaboration with China, including La Brea dry-dock project and an industrial complex in Couva.
- Government will spend $2.6 billion in severance packages to Petrotrin employees.
The 2019 Fiscal Budget proceedings were adjourned to Friday 5th October at 10am, where the debate will begin with a response by the Leader of the Opposition.