$44.8 million has been allocated for the backpay owed to Tobago teachers and other groups who accepted the Government’s four per cent wage hike offer.
While speaking on the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) $2.5 billion allocation during the Standing Finance Committee session yesterday, Imbert said the $44.8 million was for the arrears.
He noted the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) is the bargaining agent for teachers in both islands and that TTUTA was one of the unions that accepted the four per cent, therefore, 18,000 teachers in both islands were getting the backpay this year.
Imbert’s statement were in response to questions from UNC MPs Rudy Indarsingh and David Lee.
He said the sum allocated also applied to other entities that accepted the four per cent and are paid by the THA.
The THA also has a $4 million loan guarantee programme to assist businesses still recovering from the COVID period, as some are taking a long time to recover.
On a $2 million increased cost for Tobago’s School Feeding programme, Imbert said it appeared the THA agreed to increase the cost for caterers handling the programme’s lunches and breakfasts.
THA has $2.4 million more for the construction of its new Licensing Office. The sum of $10 million was allocated in 2022 for site acquisition and other fees. It is at the planning stage.
The THA has increased funding–over $400 million–for the Scarborough and new Roxborough hospitals, plus $10 million for hospital equipment. The Assembly has $1.8 million for costs towards Executive Council programmes, including “Let’s Talk Tobago”, Town Hall meetings, post-Council briefings and other things. THA also has $2.7 million to clear arrears for Tobago festivals.