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T&T manufacturers: Budget has created confidence
There is going to be “some investment” by the manufacturing sector as a result of the budget, T&T Manufacturers Association (TTMA) president Dominic Hadeed is promising. Hadeed made the disclosure at a post-budget analysis at the TTMA’s Barataria headquarters on Wednesday. Responding to questions on Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie’s call at the session for private sector investment, Hadeed told the Guardian, “There would be some investment (by the manufacturing sector) as a result of the budget.” Hadeed promised that there was even more investment ahead but only if certain conditions were met.
Noting that manufacturers were very happy to see much of what they requested appear in the budget, like VAT refunds, he said, “We want more details on three main issues, public procurement, local content and the recycling bill.” He said manufacturers are optimistic about these matters being addressed. He said, overall, they were pleased with the budget. “We saw a lot of things we didn’t necessarily request that would be good for the country, like incentives for the renewal of the energy industry.” Hadeed said the budget created confidence among manufacturers because Finance Minister Winston Dookeran acknowledged all their requests.
“All our engagements (with the Minister) were not in vain,” he said. Political scientist Indira Rampersad, who spoke at the event, sent out a warning to the Government, however. She said, “There was no belt-tightening in the budget. People didn’t really lose anything. “But it would have been more prudent for the Government to bring that kind of people-centered budget in an election year.” Rampersad said people in the next year were going to expect more and would make more demands and the Government could find itself in a precarious position if it had to do some belt-tightening then. “What if the price of oil falls? The capacity to generate revenue does not materialise in a year,” she noted.
“The Government is raising the expectations of the population and the people are going to continue to want that.” Economist Patrick Watson, another speaker, urged manufacturers to not just wait on the Government to give them confidence but to “be confident”. “Seize the opportunities,” he said. Jason Julian, general manager of First Citizens Investments Ltd, said the Government’s challenge was to execute its economic policies. He also expressed concern about the promised generation of revenues, saying that exploration for more oil took time.
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