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Mid-year Review highlights at a glance
• There will be no drastic or sudden depreciation of T&T’s currency.
• Central Bank to give priority to manufacturing/trade whenever it intervenes in Forex disbursement to commercial banks.
• Government revenue for the year revised upward from $47.4 billion to $48.0 billion, due to increase of $575 million from petroleum companies’ taxes.
• Overall Government deficit for 2017 now projected at $5.9 billion compared with original projection of $6.0 billion.
•Increased $1b energy sector 2017 tax collections to $3.6 billion.
• Progress made towards bringing national accounts into balance.
• Gas production improvement in the first six months of 2017; natural gas prices strengthened.
• Oil production back up to almost 76,000 barrels daily
• Central Statistical Office says no official GDP estimates for 2017 or revised estimates for 2016 will be released until prior to 2018 Budget. Available evidence suggests real GDP “could show small increase” in 2017.
• Three new loans in 2017 - all $1b bonds for budgetary support; one new government-guaranteed $90m loan for completion of Brian Lara Stadium.
• Public sector programme implementation expected to increase based on US$300m Andean Bank loan.
• Income tax collections were $743 million - 11 per cent, higher than projected.
• Shortfall on projected VAT collections in the first half of the year of $669 million.
• Inflation remained subdued between 2.5 and 3.6 per cent.
• Food inflation down from 18.2 per cent in 2014 to 7.7 per cent in January 2017.
• Unemployment rate rose over half a per cent to 4.0 per cent at the end of 2016 from 3.4 per cent a year earlier. Number of unemployed rose to 25,500 by the end of 2016 from 21,900 the year before.
• Foreign Reserves fell by 12 per cent from US$10.4 billion in 2014 to US$9.1 billion in April 2017. Import cover fell from 12 months in 2014 to 10 months in 2017.
• Tax collections from petroleum companies increased.
• Government expenditure for the half year was $23.5B. - 14 per cent lower than projected.
• Public Servants’ backpay “largely satisfied.”
• HSF Fund balance increased by US$100 million, to US$5.54 billion at end of April.
• Public debt for the first six months of 2017 increased to $89.1 billion - an increase in T&T debt-to-GDP ratio of 1 percentage point from 60.1 per cent to 61.1 per cent.
• Gambling Industry Control Commission operationalised in fiscal 2018.
• FCB IPO yielded $1.025 billion.
• Sale of National Gas Company’s 40,248,000 Class B shares to be launched shortly.
• Divestment of Trinidad Generation Unlimited (TGU) advancing, with pursuit of Independent Power Producer (IPP) or other suitably qualified private sector investor for 40 per cent of TGU.
• IMF assisting legal/fiscal framework for oil/gas operations. Supplemental Petroleum tax review to increase revenues.
• Dragon Field’s first gas expected 2019-2020.
• Petrotrin-Finance talks to identify cost-effective solution for Petrotrin to meet 2019 debt service obligation without Government guarantee. Strategies include partial refinancing of its US$850m bond on domestic market, followed by international bond.
• Petrotrin review team’s report next month.
• World Bank visits in June for review of public expenditure in education, health, social protection and other sectors to inform fiscal consolidation programme.
• Final round of stakeholder talks ahead on legislation to separate HSF Fund.
• Arrangement with Fitch Ratings Inc to be finalised shortly for “more balanced perspective to T&T’s credit rating.”
• Parliamentary committee deliberations on Insurance Bill completed in June.
• Inland Revenue Board, Central Bank guidelines on point for Fatca deadlines. Banks indicate readiness including already obtaining client information for Fatca exchange.
• Opposition support needed for legislation to ensure T&T compliance with Global Forum information sharing commitment by 2018.
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