Despite the shortfall in budgetary allocations, THA’s Secretary of Finance and the Economy, Joel Jack has assured that the standard of living and quality of life of Tobagonians will not be affected.
Speaking at the THA’s budget reallocation review on Monday, Jack said “The overall budgetary allocation to the Tobago House of Assembly for fiscal 2021 is approximately $2.6 million or 55.4 per cent less than in fiscal 2020.”
He said “The budgetary allocation is approximately 4.3 per cent of the national budget and is therefore consistent with the recommendations of the Dispute Resolution Commission which stipulates that the allocation to the Assembly should be between 4.03 per cent and 6.9 per cent of the national budget, and this is a departure from the barest minimum of 4.03 percent meted out to the Assembly during the period 2010 to 2015.
“In Trinidad and Tobago, coupled with the challenges of confronting the covid19 pandemic, the prices of oil and gas, our country’s primary export commodity, has plummeted causing significant deterioration in our country’s fiscal position and forcing the government to reduce its expenditure and invariably the allocation to the Tobago House of Assembly for fiscal 2021.”
He said the THA will achieve its objectives by a combination of prudent management of the budgetary resources and utilising innovative strategies to fund developmental activities and provide the necessary support to sectors affected by the pandemic, to accelerate the pace of economic recovery and to engender greater resilience in the Tobago economy.
Jack said the Assembly proposes to treat with the funding gap by restricting recurrent expenditure by 8.5 per cent and limiting expenditure to $1.824 billion without affecting salaries, wages, the payment of gratuity and covid19 measures.