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Govt plans to urge Caricom to decrease duties on cement
Government plans to lobby Caricom for a decrease in the duties on cement, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath said yesterday. He spoke about the 9.5 per cent increase announced by Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) during yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference.
Bharath said Cabinet approved two options for dealing with the cement price hike. The first was to approach Caricom and the second was to look at the ways in which Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) could be more efficient.
“I intend to go back to the Caricom through Coted to look at the possibility of some form of relief of the 15 per cent duties on cement that comes in ex-Caricom,” he said.
“There is precedent for this as in 2006, the then Government went to Coted and had a removal of duties on cement for a period of time. So there is precedent for it.
“The second option that we are exploring, that Cabinet has mandated, is that we sit with TCL and look at the possibility, first of all, based on their true operational costs, look at the possibility of negotiating the gas prices that they currently enjoy. With the provision of course that any decrease in the cost of that input will then be passed on subsequently to the consumer.”
Bharath said the increase in cement prices could hamper projects including the Point Fortin Highway, housing projects, road projects, court houses and construction projects.
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