The T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC) says while the 2024 national Budget outlined significant strides in developing the non-energy sector, some concerns need to be addressed urgently.
In its statement on Monday, it said these include access to foreign exchange and the effective implementation of the property tax system.
“Timely access to forex is vital for businesses and the economy as a whole, as it impacts international trade and the stability of the local currency. Collaboration with the private sector and the Central Bank to optimise forex utilisation is essential for economic stability.
“In this vein, we are heartened to hear the minister state that he is reviewing the recommendation made by the TTCIC to aid SMEs in their access to foreign exchange,” the TTCIC said.
It advised that implementing an effective property tax system will require careful planning and execution to ensure fairness and compliance.
On the minimum wage hike, the TTCIC stated that it understood the need for such an increase as a necessary adjustment for the workforce, given the current state of inflation.
However, it noted that the increase also called on employers and employees to focus on efficiency, productivity and output.
On the positive measures, the TTCIC welcomed the proposed increase for the recruitment of police officers and allocations towards national security, which, it added, will aid in the battle against criminal elements.
However, the organisation recommended there be collaboration with other stakeholders, inclusive of the private sector and civil society organisations.
Other positive outcomes from the Budget, as identified by the TTCIC, included the initiatives for WASA to monitor and manage water consumption, school grants, the tourism upgrade initiative, new energy projects, support for smaller manufacturers through the exemption of export in the less than 30 per cent tax bracket and cyber security investment tax allowance up to $500,000, which must be certified by igovTT.
The TTCIC added that it was imperative that the incentives were properly implemented and were easily accessible in an efficient manner to have a meaningful effect on the economy.
The TTCIC added that it will advocate for the economy through its committees — the Nova Committee, the Orange Economy Committee, and the Food and Security Committee, among others—to ensure it supports its members and the national community in critical matters in the interest of success.