Minister of Finance Colm Imbert delivered his budget presentation to a full house in the Parliament Chamber yesterday, and to a wanting audience as citizens awaited word on what the budget could offer to them.
Based on his announcements, it seems that there were “treats” for all concerned and a move to advance the economy and sustain the country. See below a snapshot of what was offered in the budget:
- increase in OJT stipends by 10% and increase intake by 8,000 with effect from (w.e.f.) December 1, 2019
- increase the minimum wage from $15.00 to $17.50 per hour w.e.f. December 1, 2019
- increase the wages of CEPEP workers by 15% percent and increase the fees paid to CEPEP contractors by 15% w.e.f. December 1, 2019
- increase the wages of URP workers by 15% w.e.f. December 1, 2019
- increase the value of personal goods that can be imported without incurring customs duties from $3,000 to $5,000 w.e.f. January 1, 2020
- eliminate the use of Styrofoam and single-use plastics within the national economy by banning, in the first instance, the importation of styrofoam importation. Coolers will be used in all Government Ministries w.e.f. January 1, 2020
- increase the solar water heating equipment tax credit from 25% to 100% of the cost of the Solar Water Heating Equipment up to a maximum of $10,000 w.e.f. January 1, 2020
- provide a capital allowance for exploration and development for both tangible and intangible expenditure to be computed on a straight-line basis over five years, i.e. at 20 percent per year w.e.f. January 1, 2020
- eliminate arrival forms at our airports by 2020
- minimum pension of $3,500 for daily-paid workers in the public service with an appropriate minimum length of service w.e.f. 2020
- eliminate, in the first instance, the requirement for life certificates for government pensioners who were born in Trinidad and Tobago and possess their computerized birth certificates and associated personal identification numbers
- remove all taxes and duties on LED bulbs and appurtenances
- create a tax-free agriculture sector for farmers registered for agricultural purposes
- offer $3 billion, in the first instance, in interest bearing Government bonds to all eligible VAT-registered business to meet VAT arrears
- development of framework to allow for the refund of VAT on a current and consistent basis
- increase the tax allowance from $3 million to $6 million for the corporate sponsorship of nationals in the local fashion industry; audio, visual or video productions for the purpose of local education or local entertainment
- new methodology to replace the existing basis for taxation of life insurance companies.
Alcohol and Gas prices remain the same.