President of the Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce, Kiran Singh is pleading with government to assist businesses in the city with the payment of utility expenses.
During a recent meeting with Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon and Energy Minister Stuart Young, Singh, said electricity remains a large budget item.
He said “Despite several appeals, T&TEC has not given any concessions. We know that power usage requires a commitment to pay with which we have complied. Commercial landlords, in particular, continue to feel the negative impact of high reserve requirements and rates although there is zero business activity.”
Singh pointed out that last year residential landlords were given Rent Relief Grants. However, “Commercial landlords received no help.”
He said “It must be remembered that ‘brick and mortar establishments generate a multitude of expenses from mortgages, loans, utilities, security personnel and insurance which must be paid regardless of occupancy levels.”
Singh said although insurance companies showed compassion last year, the same was not being seen this year as no relief measures have been announced.
He is now asking for a three-month premium deferrals and for government to allow VAT refunds.
According to Singh, “VAT refunds will certainly aid in the survivability of many small businesses.”