Difficult decisions ahead of this year’s Budget presentation

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Difficult decisions ahead of this year’s Budget presentation

Difficult decisions must be made during today’s presentation of the budget for the fiscal year 2022/2023 by Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

T&T is now climbing out of two-year global health pandemic which led to the closure of many businesses and an increase in poverty and unemployment. Social problems like crime continue to grow and citizens are clamouring daily for solutions.

Even before the pandemic which started in 2020, the country had experienced five years of negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

The war in Ukraine has resulted in higher energy prices, which has given the Government $8 billion (TT) in extra revenue,according to information from the Prime Minister gave the country in June.

Although there is no indication of the amount allocated for the 2023 budget, last year Imbert presented a $52.4 billion budget.

Imbert may price the budget on higher energy prices as the Ukraine/Russia war continues and, consequently, higher commodity prices.

The Government based last year’s budget on US$65/barrel and gas on US$3.75 per mmbtu.

Speaking at the Spotlight on the Economy on September 2, Imbert said a new road repair company will be called the Secondary Road and Rehabilitation Company and will be assigned to the Ministry of Local Government. He indicated that $100 million (TT) will be allocated to the company in the 2023 budget.

Imbert also said that the Government wants to cap the fuel subsidy at $1 billion annually, and this could likely lead to higher fuel prices in the short run. He may address the issue again on budget day.