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Siparia Chamber question budget measures
The steep increase in taxes proposed in the $58 million budget may cripple the gaming industry. The comment by the Siparia Chamber of Commerce comes in the wake of concerns expressed by the T&T Members’ Club Association that the imposed taxes could force smaller outfits to close, putting several people on the breadline.
Commenting on the budget in a press statement, the chamber said, “The gaming industry has been dealt a severe blow by the new taxation structure and we await the outcome because it is our view that this move may cripple the industry.” Observing that many of the statements made by Finance Minister Larry Howai were broad in scope, the chamber said the $7.9 billion deficit was considerable.
“While he stated his intentions in terms of allocation, there were little details on the mechanism to implement.” Noting that education got the largest share of the budget, the chamber said, “It is the hope of the Siparia Chamber that all schools in need of repairs will be upgraded and that the outstanding teachers’ negotiations will be settled.”
Agreeing with similar comments that not only high-end cars used premium gasoline, the chamber said the 44 per cent price hike would place an additional burden on the travelling public. The chamber also commented that CNG stations should be built at strategic locations before the public could have confidence in this measure.
The chamber asked, “If we are serious on the proposal to reduce the food import bill by 50 per cent and at the same time become self-sufficient in agricultural production, then why the drop from $1.9 billion to $1.3 billion in the allocation to the Ministry of Agriculture?”
Welcoming the boost for sporting facilities, the chamber expressed hope that Irwin Park, Siparia would be upgraded to a modern sporting facility this year. With Christmas season approaching, the chamber was also hopeful that communities would see new crime fighting initiatives in the immediate future.
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