Tobago Chamber predicting challenges for development projects following Budget

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Tobago Chamber predicting challenges for development projects following Budget

The Chairman of the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce Tobago Division is seeing under development for the sister isle, after Tobago’s $2.585 billion allocation in the 2024 budget.

Curtis Williams said: “When we look at the breakdown of the funds we receive, we see under development there is not much there – nothing at all. So we know for sure that, under development for the island, there is going to be some challenges.”

Tobago was allocated $2.298 million for recurrent expenditure, $260 million for the development programme and $18 million for the Unemployment Relief Programme.
Imbert said the allocation was $64.2 million more than last year’s.

But, during his appearance on Tobago Channel Five’s morning show, Rise and Shine, on Tuesday, Williams pointed out the challenges questioning where the money would come from for development projects.

He said the bulk of the funds had gone to goods and services and recurrent expenditure.

“So we know it is going to be a little tight for the THA definitely moving forward in terms of development for us here on the island. They would now have to use other mechanisms to raise funds to take care of the development.”

He said coming out of the past regime, there were some contractors that needed to be paid. He said there are couple millions outstanding for contractors, the whole ripple effect.

“These contractors owe sub-contractors and hardwares so hence the reason why the lobbying is there for them to be paid. There must be some sort of provision in place to pay these contractors.”

He said when the increase in minimum wage goes into effect in January, there would also be some ripple effect. Government has increased the minimum wage by 17 per cent, with effect from January 1, 2024.

“I welcome the minimum wage increase – all these projects now would have to be re-tendered because companies would tell you now, okay, we need an increase to supplement that increase by the minimum wage. The ripple effect, the expectation of employees is that if you raise the guy lower down, you’re suppose to raise me as well. The expectation is that we would all have a $3 increase or a 17.5 per cent increase throughout.”