The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) is calling on the Finance Minister to provide salary relief grants to just under half of the manufacturing sector’s 53,000 employees who it said are “adversely” affected by COVID-19.
In a statement after the Minister of Finance presented the mid-year review yesterday, the TTMA said given the socio-economic challenges the people of Trinidad and Tobago are experiencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is pleased with the decisions announced.
The TTMA said, “We are especially pleased on the supplementary funding that is to be provided to address the pandemic including additional provision of TTD $267 million to the Ministry of Health (MOH) to assist in the rollout of the national vaccination programme. This funding is crucial to address the present COVID-19 pandemic situation in Trinidad and Tobago.”
The Association also noted the additional financing being offered under the Salary Relief Programme, the extension of the Entrepreneurial Relief Grant under NEDCO and the extension of the Credit Union Programme.
It said, “With the introduction of this additional financing, TTMA looks forward for Government’s consideration on salary grants for the Manufacturing Sector. To date, this sector represents 53,000 workers of which approximately 47 per cent are affected adversely, in some form or fashion, because businesses are not allowed to remain opened, and or curtailed because of the present restrictions under the State of Emergency.”
The association added there is also the immediate need to address the VAT refund delays businesses are presently experiencing once again, thus alleviating cash flow challenges, especially for businesses belonging to the SME sector.
The TTMA said while it appreciates the assistance received last year to allow injections into the flow of VAT returns, the bottlenecks are building up again. It said there is a need to address this matter on a sustainable level and thus, “we are asking for consideration of recommendations of Net Off, and or removal of VAT on imported Raw Material as a means to resolving the matter on a permanent basis. “
The TTMA said it looks forward to further information on the Minister’s presentation when available and welcomes consultation and collaboration with the Government with respect to the Manufacturing Sector.