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Finance ministry says changes made well received by IMF

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Ministry of Finance has put measures in place to improve following the report by the IMF in its Article IV consultation.

The measures, according to the Ministry of Finance are endorsed by IMF in its November 21, 2017 report.

In a statement released yesterday, the Ministry outlined the measures saying that, "notwithstanding the current economic climate being experienced by T&T, the IMF has stated that the country’s current monetary policy is appropriate."

The Ministry also assured that the Government had taken steps to adjust fiscal imbalances through efforts to reform the energy tax regime, reduce fuel subsidies and boost non-energy revenues as well as engage the World Bank to conduct a public expenditure review.

"This will identify cost-savings in health, education, and social services. Also, The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT), has stopped its tightening cycle at the end of 2015, given the severity of the economic downturn, and has since held interest rates constant."

Concerning foreign exchange, the Ministry said the US-dollar was allowed to depreciate by about seven per cent in the second half of 2016, but has been held steady since.

The Ministry said that the changes which are already in place have been given the nod of approval from IMF. They include:

-The executive directors of the IMF commended steps taken in FY2016/17 and in the FY2017/18 budget proposal towards fiscal adjustment. These steps included the introduction of property,

excise and gaming taxes, royalties on natural gas production and elimination of fuel subsidies


-The directors also welcomed progress toward the creation of the National Statistical Institute to address remaining data shortcomings to strengthen policy making and surveillance


-The IMF also welcomed the Government’s engagement with the Inter-American Centre of Tax Administrations on preparing transfer pricing legislation to reduce tax leakages from shifting profits to other jurisdictions


-The Government’s decision to abolish the Central Tenders Board and establish Procurement Units within line ministries, to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accountability and achieve significant cost savings, were endorsed by the IMF




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