Oil companies have contributed the most revenue during the 2019 tax amnesty that took place between June 15 and September 30.
Speaking at the “Spotlight on the Budget” yesterday Finance Minister Colm Imbert highlighted the segments of society that made up the tax revenue.
He said: “Look at that, $750 million came in, in taxes, just in that three months this year, from the oil companies.”
Apart from the $750 million that came from oil companies, Imbert said corporation taxes amounted to approximately $600 million and taxes from foreign companies came in at $431 million.
Imbert said the rest of tax revenue came from individuals.
The 2019 Tax Amnesty gained the country $2.4 billion and was approximately $1.6 billion more than Imbert expected to receive.
He said: “The Tax Amnesty, I was amazed. In 2016, we had a tax amnesty and we had targeted $500 million we got $750 million so that when we decided to have a Tax Amnesty this year as we prepared for the revenue authority, I thought maybe we would get $700 million, $800 million tops.”
Imbert said it is usually a norm for the country to enter into the budget period with an overdraft of 95 per cent.
The minister added: “It’s a feature of T&T that permanent secretaries wait until July and August and then they wake up and we start to get masses of files coming to the Ministry of Finance because they’re all trying to spend what remains in their allocation.”
Imbert noted that because cheques are written in September, they have to be dealt with, in October or November— which make them “two of the most difficult months for a government.”
However, Imbert said that because of the revenues generated from the tax amnesty, the overdraft percentage dropped to 82 per cent.
Imbert also took time to mention the investments to come to Tobago.
He said he “heard a commentator complaining that we are only allocating $200 million for capital development in Tobago.”
He noted, however, that the cost to build the new airport terminal in Tobago is $870 milion.
He added that State agencies like WASA will be spending $1bilion in Tobago in the fiscal year 2020 for in capital expenditure.
Imbert said, “So when you add that up, $1 billion from other agencies, $200 million to the House of Assembly directly, $300 million loan approval, that’s $1.5 billion and then you put in the airport that’s $2 billion dollars.”
He noted that the actual investment is “ten times the numbers that I’m hearing from the critics.”
The minister noted that the airport terminal will be a state- of- the- art facility and the upcoming construction in Tobago will bring the island “into the modern age.” See Pages A21 and A22