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Howai comfirms relocation of BIR workers

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Board of Inland Revenue employees have been relocated from the VAT Office on St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain, Finance and the Economy Minister Larry Howai said. He said although complaints had been made by bargaining agents for the workers, the Public Services Association (PSA), a decision had already been made to relocate thes employees to the Ministry of Finance and the Economy’s head office on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain. 


Howai said this was part of a decision to rationalise operations and reduce rental expenses being incurred by the ministry. Renovations to accommodate personnel from the VAT Office started some weeks ago and are now complete. “Starting from next week, there will be no Ministry of Finance and the Economy employees in the VAT Building. The VAT office will be moved to the Ministry’s head office,”  the minister said


Commenting on issues raised by the PSA about Trinidad House, Howai said: “The Ministry of Finance and the Economy commissioned the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (Cariri) to conduct an air quality assessment on the sixth floor of the Trinidad House after receiving several complaints of respiratory irritations, nausea and frequent mal odours from staff members who occupy the work area.


“In a report dated January 21, Cariri advised that based on the total fungal count, the indoor to outdoor ratio and the significant fungal types collected, it shows that there is no significant amplification of mould in the indoor area assessed and it therefore suggests that there is no fungal contamination in the building, at the time of sampling.” He said the ministry “has offered and made provisions for the employees located in the Trinidad House to undertake an executive medical at the Mount Hope Medical Sciences Complex, if they so wish”.


A copy of the Cariri report was given to the union. While noting that the employees at the Inland Revenue Department can expect to be relocated to the Inland Revenue Tower by March 2015, as part of the cost reduction and ongoing rationalisation of the BIR’s operations, Howai said outfitting of the Customs & Excise Building is also proceeding according to schedule and is expected to be completed for occupation by September.


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