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Local contractors to be paid $150m
The Ministry of Finance has allocated $150 million to be paid to local contractors as part settlement of the $500 million owed to them. Mervyn Chin, President, Trinidad and Tobago Contractors’ Association (TTCA), who revealed this to the T&T Guardian yesterday. described it as a “partial relief”. He said Finance Minister Larry Howai has asked the TTCA for an updated status on the matter and it will be forwarded to him shortly.
The TTCA and local contractors have been calling on the government for years to pay money owed to them for local projects. Chin and his predecessor Mikey Joseph have been saying that the situation has not been doing any good for the construction sector which is an important part of the economy.
Two weeks ago, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath said the construction sector contributed seven per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Chin said the money will be disbursed in tranches but could not give further details of how many contractors will be paid.
“I can only speak for the TTCA members as I am not privy to debts owed to non-members. The Ministry of Finance disburses tranches to the various ministries and state agencies who in turn paid contractors likewise,” he said. Last week, at an ANSA Coating Limited award ceremony, Gerry Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of the ANSA McAL Group reiterated calls for the government to move urgently to settle all outstanding debts to local contractors.
Chin said the ANSA McAL Group’s concerns reflects what the TTCA has been saying all along.
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