Farley’s budget described as a failure

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Farley’s budget described as a failure

Minority leader, Kelvon Morris, has described the THA budget as a failure.

For fiscal 2023-2024, the Tobago House of Assembly is asking for $3.956 billion, with recurrent expenditure at $2.81 billion, $1.002 billion for development programme expenditure, $91.9 million for the URP and $43.8 million for CEPEP.

Following a three-and-a-half-hour budget presentation yesterday, Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said he hopes, with an upcoming election, Imbert will be generous.

However, Morris said “We were held hostage for over three hours to basically hear things we heard for the first year of this administration, and therefore we don’t expect anything different. It has been a lot of flowery words with empty promises.

Speaking to media after the presentation, he added: “No empty promise that was made today from the disappointment of Tobagonians. It is difficult for Tobagonians, at this time they are suffering under the hands of this administration. They boast about establishing of the economy, (but) over the past three years it has been in decline.”

Meanwhile, Progressive Democratic Patriots leader Watson Duke said the budget was a “misfit,” as it does not satisfy the true needs of Tobagonians.

“He seems very comfortable with the 5.8 per cent but here is the kick, he is going into new areas that were never spoken of that were never under the purview of the THA—like security.

“I am glad the Chief Secretary is leaving the Division of Finance. I have seen a man, Tobago, who has taken a beating. This is not ideal talk. As I examine the budget, I see one that is not adequate, one that can be regarded as the lowest budget he repented.”

In the last fiscal year, the THA requested $4.54 billion from Central Government to manage the island’s affairs.

Tobago received $2.585 billion, with $2.298 billion designated for recurrent expenditure, $216 million for development programme expenditure, and $18 million for the Unemployment Relief Programme.

For 2022-2023 fiscal year, the THA asked the Government for $3.97 billion but received $2.5 billion.

In 2025, Tobago is expected to collect $215.9 million in revenue. However, Augustine said this figure does not accurately reflect all revenue generated in Tobago, as substantial amounts are collected in Trinidad instead.