Last update: 08-Dec-2013 8:36 pm
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Tobago’s ‘real budget’ to be presented October 25
Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Orville London said the island’s “real budget” will be presented to the legislature at its plenary sitting on October 25. He said this budget will be based on the resources available to the THA. London made the announcement at a media briefing at the Magdalena Resort following a two-day retreat attended by THA secretaries, assistant secretaries, administrators and accounting staff. The retreat was held in response to the $2.477 billion allocation Tobago received in the 2013/2014 national budget and which London described as a great challenge.
He said the THA needed to take a proactive approach and do what was necessary to ensure it derived optimum benefit for the people of Tobago. London said the THA would be not be able to deliver the projects and initiatives promised when Finance Secretary Joel Jack delivered a budget on June 24. As a result, the THA had to prioritise to ensure an efficient delivery system. He said THA officials would be meeting with the various stakeholders to discuss recommendations and then go to the legislature “now that we know what Tobago’s allocation is to present to the people of Tobago the real Tobago budget”.
“We will be able to say with much more certainty what our resources are, what our challenges are and what we can deliver. We will make sure that we keep the Tobago populace and all of Tobago in the loop,” London said. Secretary of Finance Joel Jack said while no allocation was given for Cepep and there was a shortfall of $51 million for URP, “not a man or woman will be sent home.” He said major projects like the Scarborough Library and the Shaw Park Cultural Complex would be continued but new major projects like the Bacolet Aquatic Centre and the Bacolet Indoor Sporting Complex could not be started.
Jack said the retreat identified savings that could be transferred to undertake ongoing smaller projects. “We will have to cut and contrive for Tobago’s development. We cannot delay any further because Tobago’s development is at a crossroad,” he said. He said the THA was mindful of the Finance Minister’s constraints but said Tobago needed funding for capital projects such as agro processing and further development of the Cove Eco Industrial and Business Park.
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