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Tax sale of fireworks to fund CDAP—Mahabir

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Independent Senator Dr Dhanayshar Mahabir yesterday called on the Government to impose a new tax on the sale fireworks.

The money generated from the fireworks, Mahabir said can be used for the purchase of much-needed drugs for the Chronic Disease Assistance Programme (CDAP).

Delivering his contribution on the budget in the Senate Mahabir said the country had seen its tenth deficit budget.

“Deficits have some problems associated with them…and the problems are that the deficits give rise to debts.”

He said every debt that exists the country must service it, stating that no matter how hard Finance Minister Colm Imbert tries, he would not get expenditure down below $50 billion.

“Cutting expenditure is politically almost impossible. Not that it should not be attempted.”

He said Government will have to find ways to slash expenditure in the public service and eliminate waste.

In the current environment, Mahabir offered solutions that would not cost the Government much.

Estimating that 20 per cent of country’s population was deemed poor, Mahabir said we could find funds to finance the CDAP.

“The poor people get their pharmaceuticals from that CDAP programme. There is a suggestion. You see all the fireworks on Divali night that created mayhem in Trinidad and Tobago. Tax the fireworks,” he said.

He suggested the money earned from that tax be put it into a fund to finance the CDAP programme.

“It will make a lot of poor people happy,” he said.

Another proposal Mahabir put forward for the needy to use credit unions as the poor people bank, where they can save and lift themselves.

“But in order to do that, we need to have the credit union organisations regulated.”

Mahabir said it was no secret that the majority of people who patronise Play Whe are poor.

“We have to think outside the box now. Could we marry savings and gambling?”

Mahabir came up with the plan where the poor can put in $100 in a Unit Trust account.

“At the end of the month he (account holder) agrees that $1 out of my (his) interest will be put into a fund and Unit Trust has 100,000 accounts. At the end of the month, there is $100,000 there and random draw of 100 persons in that UTC will give each person an extra $1,000 in winnings.”

Mahabir looked at it as gambling their savings.

He said this idea had been used in North America to encourage the vulnerable to save their earnings, while at the same time participate in a gambling scheme.


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