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Howai: T&T must grow without cutting back
The T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC) has called for the Ministry of National Security to get a large chunk of the 2012/2013 budget since crime is a hindrance to doing business in T&T. Catherine Kumar, chief executive officer of the Chamber said there is need to use more technology in the fight against crime and therefore the Ministry of National Security would need more funds.
“We know National Security got the largest chunk of the budget last year, and more needs to be given (in the 2012/2013 budget) and it needs to be spent in areas that we can see a return in those investments,” she said. Justifying her point, Kumar said in order for T&T’s economy to grow there is need to deal with the problem.
“If we don’t fix the crime, the minister is not going to get the stimulation of the economy that he needs we are not going to see the economy move, therefore he is not going to get the revenue. “He started off by saying his number one goal is to increase revenue, we don’t always cut expenditure we have to turn to diversification, but it is not going to come if we don’t fix the crime,” he said.
Kumar was speaking yesterday, after the Chamber met with the Minister of Finance, Larry Howai as part of his pre-budget consultation with stakeholders from varying sectors. The meeting was held at the Ministry of Finance, Independence Square, Port-of-Spain. Andrew Sabga said the Chamber made recommendations to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Security about crime and he is hopeful that some of the Chamber’s suggestions would be adopted.
Asked what his other recommendations were for the 2012/2013 budget, he said government institutions should not be involved in matters concerning the Private Sector. “We as a private sector (entity) we have always said, as a government they should stay out of business, and any public organisations that are owned by the Government should be divested. We look forward to that announcement on divestment in particular, FCB (First Citizens) and the TTMF (T&T Mortgage Finance Company Limited),” he told reporters after the Chamber met with Howai.
Concerning Property Taxes, Sabga anticipates that “it would be re-implemented.” Howai in his opening remarks, told the members of the Chamber that T&T’s economy needs to grow without expenditure cuts. “You don’t shrink yourself into growth, growth comes from growing the top line, growing revenue, growing business, growing the economy and of course growing the take that we (the government) get from that,” he said.
Howai also said there is need to give incentives to the business community so that the wider economy can grow. “In looking at how we move forward in the short-term, we recognize that there are some incentives that we may have to give to the Private Sector in order to ensure that you achieve the objectives that we want to see you achieve which is to continue to grow business and continue growth in the economy,” he said.
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