Home / Live Wire / Is Imbert working with gas or full of it? Live Wire looks at the Budget in brief

Is Imbert working with gas or full of it? Live Wire looks at the Budget in brief

The good news is that Trinidad and Tobago citizens are about to have their country open up more than ever before as traffic lights come down, highways continue to expand and sea ports go up.

The bad news is we may not be able to afford to drive to see it.

Photo: The gas pump has spoken.
Photo: The gas pump has spoken.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s budget presentation yesterday confirmed that the price of super gasoline has increased immediately from TT$2.70/litre to TT$3.11/litre while the price of diesel also rose from TT$1.50/litre to TT$1.72/litre.

Now when Tanty Kamla hiked the price of premium gas in 2012, Mr Live Wire grudgingly switched to super.

So now Imbert wants people to switch to bicycles or wot?!

At least the PNM Government hinted at plans for a national broadband service. Because plenty friends will have to lime on Skype now yes.

Of course, the beauty of producing your first budget while still enjoying the glow of a fresh mandate is that the public is less inclined to be critical. Not when they can still see a smidgen of ink on their voting fingers.

And there was some good stuff in there. That increase in personal exemption tax sweet too bad. Although Mr Live Wire will have to borrow a calculator to see if he will spend that extra $1,000 in gas bills for the month—not to mention if the price of doubles doubles.

So the short man better hope we don’t find out that he’s full of gas when we work that one out.

Photo: Minister of Finance Colm Imbert. (Courtesy Power102)
Photo: Minister of Finance Colm Imbert.
(Courtesy Power102)

And how come nothing in that 41-page budget speaks to recovering money stolen from the treasury or ensuring that big business pays its fair share of taxes?

Imbert said the Government would save TT$340 million by cutting the gas subsidy. Steups. SIS boss Krishna Lalla probably has that amount in between his couch cushions from any one of those overpriced State contracts he got.

Why the poor man’s belt always tightening and politicians always looking so rosy?

So the Government spending money for so to deal with “chronic and rampant criminal conduct in T&T” and nothing in Imbert’s speech addressed white collar crime and souping up our BIR investigators?

Was anybody even listening when Loretta Lynch told the world about the kind of figures being laundered by our Trickidadian businessmen?

I don’t know how many OPVs Trinidad and Tobago will need to successfully resist the Colombia and Mexico drug cartels. But I’m pretty sure if the FIU or BIR departments had some teeth, the Centre of Excellence and Royal Castle would be State property by now.

Photo: Former Chaguanas West MP and ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner. (Copyright AFP 2015/Alva Viarruel)
Photo: Former Chaguanas West MP and ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner.
(Copyright AFP 2015/Alva Viarruel)

And speaking of sport and culture…

Actually, he didn’t. Not really.

You mean to tell me, the Finance Minister had a subsection marked “sport” and another marked “culture” and he got through both without mentioning “Rio 2016 Olympics”, “Russia 2018 World Cup”, “2016 Carnival”, “calypso” or “steelpan?”

So we squeeze the money we need to keep our youths out of trouble but spend big bucks to throw their tails in jail when they cross the line?

“We will establish a Sports Institute of Trinidad and Tobago mandated to modernise the sports industry,” said Imbert, “with the ultimate objective of developing and promoting sports tourism.”

What does any Government—red or yellow—know about modernising the sport industry or any other industry for that matter?

Photo: A Trinidad and Tobago football fan supports the national team at the Germany 2006 World Cup. (Copyright AFP 2014/Lluis Gene)
Photo: A Trinidad and Tobago football fan supports the national team at the Germany 2006 World Cup.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Lluis Gene)

Somebody in the Sport Ministry feels he knows something about the Pro League that club owners who doing dog paddle for 15 years with minimum resources don’t know?

The entire budget presentation on “Arts and Culture” took up three paragraphs:

“Madam Speaker, we will leverage our rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage for developing tourism with associated job creation activity. We will encourage all local cultures.

“We will create a national local enterprise with the support of the entire country which will identify the benefits: value creation, income and employment generation, goods and services production, innovation and creativity.

“Artistes, media operators, film-makers and other participants in the creative industries will access first-class facilities to showcase their talent with world-class standards. Arts, fashion design, culture and tourism will become major drivers of productivity and growth in our country.”

In 2015, we still need a committee to identify the benefits of arts and culture? Those committee members going to get a bigger stipend than our pan men? And who said a lack of first-class facilities is what’s restricting our creativeness?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona (second from right) shows Pope Francis how to beat iron. (Courtesy whensteeltalks.com)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona (second from right) shows Pope Francis how to beat iron.
(Courtesy whensteeltalks.com)

Steups. You see why Mr Live Wire prefers to leave this budget business to those people with cuff-links and letters at the end of their names? Smart people who know how to use “paradigm” and “alleviate” in a sentence?

Let me go and Skype one of my partners that I use to lime with yes. Or maybe I could “alleviate” him of some “paradigm” to fill my gas tank!

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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145 comments

  1. dotish move.
    nearly every business transaction done today is online. what is the difference between me buying a pair of fake Jays for US$50 and then paying VAT and duties when it reach and when Francis Fashion buys the same shitty fake Jays by the container-load?

    • Irrelevant question in the context of the current conjuncture, Taye. The question is why are you buying a pair of fake Jays at all when yuh cud buy a pair ah Bata watchikongs? Answer me dat!
      Oh shucks! It eh have no Bata no more? Sorry, Taye. Go ahead and use yuh credit card to get yuh fake Jays.

  2. This is an interesting idea but it would be difficult to implement. I would argue that imported items are subject to the same duties and Vat as goods imported by businesses so the argument doesn’t hold water. It would benefit businesses but at the expense of consumers.

    • It would mostly benefit the businesses who sell stuff here at five or ten times the price. So he best tread very carefully. Trinis won’t take this lightly.
      Why is it fine for businesses to buy crap abroad and dump it on us but not okay for us to buy from source? Steups.

  3. Kendall Tull:

    Imbert eyeing tax on online shopping
    (Trinidad Express)
    THE TAXING of online shopping is being considered by the Government, Finance Minister Colm Imbert has said.
    Imbert said online shopping is an “area of tremendous leakage” of this country’s foreign exchange.
    He made the statements as he delivered the feature address at the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s annual post-budget analysis at Hyatt Regency, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, yesterday.
    Imbert said he received many proposals that Government should put a tax on online shopping. However, he did not implement the tax because it is “simply too complicated”.
    “We do know that credit card purchases are a first call on our foreign exchange. The banks automatically honour any credit card purchase that is made for online shopping and it is always in a foreign currency. So it is an area of tremendous leakage of foreign exchange, but it is not simple and it is something we will be studying over the next year. But we won’t be rushing to put any tax on online shopping at this point in time because it is simply too complicated,” Imbert said.
    He said the Government will also be approaching major banks in China to house their regional headquarters in this country’s International Financial Centre on Wrightson Road…

  4. In an effort to have a balance budget by 2018, certain measures must be put in place and the govt must make adjustments in all sectors. Ine must take in to account this has been the 8 consecutive deficit budget to my recollection….union leaders generally have a one dimensional approach to things, so im not surprise by roget….a few cents extra in fuel is a small sacrifice for the greater good….it would be nice to know what are some of these union leaders training in finance is….jus saying

  5. As for mechanisms being put in place to safeguard the most vulnerable to ripple effects of the reduction in fuel sibsidy, I think that was what the VAT reduction and increased income allowance was for. If that is inadequate is something that can be argued

  6. Lisana I say to this, If no mechanism has being put in place to handle the business community.. It’s time that our society understand, we as consumers have the power to make and break.. Don’t say” well I have to live”. Speak with actions.

  7. I totally agree that the government should be going after tax revenue from the business community. I do not delude myself that even that won’t be somehow passed down in lower wages, higer prices or whatever. I don’t see the issue as an either or situation. reduce the subsidy gradually AND vigorously go after unpaid taxes.

  8. Ancel Roget:
    “Speaking at the annual post budget breakfast forum jointly organised by the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, (OWTU), and the Co-operative Credit Unions Society, Paramount Building, Circular Road, San Fernando yesterday, Roget asked about the ripple effect the increase in the fuel prices would have on consumers.

    “And now we come to the burden of adjustments, the 15 percent increase in diesel and super, what does that really mean for the country and for consumers,” Roget said, adding, “what is the exact ripple effect across the board with that, because the business community will just pass on those costs to the ordinary man on the street and it would not just be at 15 percent.

    “It cannot be that the business community, that owes this country billions of dollars in tax revenue, just passes that on to ensure they maintain their profit margins and send workers home at the first ring of the bell once we are threatened with hard economic times,” Roget said.

    “It cannot be that workers must once again bear the burden of adjustment while the business community continues to command billions of dollars in profit,” he said, adding that mechanisms had to be put in place to “safeguard those who are most vulnerable from the ripple effects of the removal or the beginning to remove the fuel subsidy.”

  9. Ancel Roget: “Speaking at the annual post budget breakfast forum jointly organised by the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, (OWTU), and the Co-operative Credit Unions Society, Paramount Building, Circular Road, San Fernando yesterday, Roget asked about the ripple effect the increase in the fuel prices would have on consumers.

    “And now we come to the burden of adjustments, the 15 percent increase in diesel and super, what does that really mean for the country and for consumers,” Roget said, adding, “what is the exact ripple effect across the board with that, because the business community will just pass on those costs to the ordinary man on the street and it would not just be at 15 percent.

    “It cannot be that the business community, that owes this country billions of dollars in tax revenue, just passes that on to ensure they maintain their profit margins and send workers home at the first ring of the bell once we are threatened with hard economic times,” Roget said.

    “It cannot be that workers must once again bear the burden of adjustment while the business community continues to command billions of dollars in profit,” he said, adding that mechanisms had to be put in place to “safeguard those who are most vulnerable from the ripple effects of the removal or the beginning to remove the fuel subsidy.”

  10. Fayola Bostic, Nicole Ulerie and Debbie Espinal, I think Ancel Roget echoes some of my concerns:

    “Speaking at the annual post budget breakfast forum jointly organised by the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, (OWTU), and the Co-operative Credit Unions Society, Paramount Building, Circular Road, San Fernando yesterday, Roget asked about the ripple effect the increase in the fuel prices would have on consumers.

    “And now we come to the burden of adjustments, the 15 percent increase in diesel and super, what does that really mean for the country and for consumers,” Roget said, adding, “what is the exact ripple effect across the board with that, because the business community will just pass on those costs to the ordinary man on the street and it would not just be at 15 percent.

    “It cannot be that the business community, that owes this country billions of dollars in tax revenue, just passes that on to ensure they maintain their profit margins and send workers home at the first ring of the bell once we are threatened with hard economic times,” Roget said.

    “It cannot be that workers must once again bear the burden of adjustment while the business community continues to command billions of dollars in profit,” he said, adding that mechanisms had to be put in place to “safeguard those who are most vulnerable from the ripple effects of the removal or the beginning to remove the fuel subsidy.”

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,218131.html

  11. We still paying less than the US for petrol and diesel when the price of rum and cigarette went up nobody stopped smoking or drinking, super went up by 41cents diesel by 22cents compare that to the huge increase on alcohol and cigarettes a few years ago

  12. What cost? Not the real cost plus profits. Simply put we are following an International price fixing system. The governments need to come clean on this issue and not fool the people by making us feel they are subsidizing fuel costs when in fact fuel is overpriced and overtaxed.

  13. The subsidy is paying part of the cost

  14. The price of fuel refined in T&T has nothing to do with cost of production, other costs and reasonable profits. We do import crude for refining but we also use local crude which can satisfy our domestic needs. Even if we use foreign crude the prices are still greatly inflated due to the international pricing system. The prices in T&T are based on international market prices determined by demand and supply. So that this notion of a subsidy is not really a subsidy at all. Example: It can cost the Refinery 20 cents estimate (all costs) to produce a litre (close to a quart) of fuel. You then add excise duty, VAT, Road Tax and Transportation cost. This is say another estimated 20 cents a litre. The Marketing companies spend about 15 cents or so to store and transport to the gas stations. Note: profits are included in all costs. 55 cents estimate is the total cost for a litre of fuel ex service station including taxes. Instead of selling local fuel at say 75 cents a litre the government sets the price based on the international market at say $1.00 US per litre (est $6.30 TT). This fictitious international price is then reduced to now say $3.11 per litre from a local cost of say 75 cents all profits and taxes included. This is what is called a subsidy. The prices are not really a subsidy but an international price fixing mechanism by the international trading agencies which our goverments have adopted. Most of the subsidies go to the Refining and Marketing companies with taxes and dividends going to the Government. The notion of subsidized fuel is a myth. Venezuela, Arab countries and others never used this international pricing mechanism for domestic fuel pricing but used cost plus reasonable profits as the mechanism. These countries used the International price system only for exports which are many times more than domestic consumption. We in T&T need to have a conversation on this fuel pricing method and the fallacy of a subsidy which all governments falsely claim is a burden on the Treasury but is in fact multiple taxes on fuels based on a supply and demand international market price fixed by traders overseas.

  15. At the end of the day the punch hurts us all. Politic should never be base on race but performance. I really don’t see hope for us. Take a step backward and analyze the ministers. 90% are crooked and corrupt. They have their DNA on failed projects. Where is the hope..maybe panday and maraj have the answer.

  16. Increase in gas prices is an environmental and economic must.

  17. He could have save us the 2hour long presentation and just say fuel gone up so expect everything to go up lol

  18. PNM votes, just remember one thing..GOOD FOR ONE GOOD FOR ALL. Your future generations will never have a bright success future because of you poor parenting that you are passing down for generations to generation. You all are very sad and pitiful.

  19. Agreed with you Fred He cannot show what he doesn’t have

  20. The idea of relocating the port is about 40yrs old but no one had the political will to remove the squatters because they are PNM supporters

  21. Any one of you guys care to come up with some solutions.

  22. Unfortunately given the situation we seem to be in the money saved will be going into day to day operations. As there seem to be no cushion in the till right now

  23. I agree with not blaming the Nikes and carnival costumes, but “easily run T&T” is subjective.
    In any case, across the board subsidies are more beneficial to the wealthy especially when we’re all paying the same tax rate. So I do think it’s fiscally wise to reduce the gas subsidy. But like I said in an earlier post, the money saved is supposed to help the lower income earners and I don’t see how that’s happening right now.

  24. 340 M can go a very long way in funding the National Football teams….as well as Football development in tnt…just saying

    • Steups. Imbert barely mentioned sport. And they can take money from a host of other areas to do that.
      But of course they are taking the money to make a better brighter country. As always.

    • Agreed Lasana Liburd…to make a better brighter country…

    • Chabeth Haynes our fuel is very cheap….so what a few cents more ??? People want ti weigh heavy and live light

    • I live in the real world Trini Don where we ask why and what for. Not: “Of course wise sir. You know so much more than me.”
      Whether fuel is is very cheap isn’t the point. You need to tell us why it shouldn’t be cheap. Not state the obvious.

    • Firstly not everything could be explained in a budget…however probably in the budget debate it will be broken down for us….im not aware I know more than you Lasana Liburd….im a Pleb, in case you did not know

    • Trini Don, I feel like you’re not thinking about people who make less than 5k/month, who have gained nothing from the increase in disposable income.
      Also, remember that the gas subsidy does not only affect gas prices for vehicles. It affects electricity prices too. Which play into the costs of goods. And for people making $3500/month, let’s say, it all starts to add up.
      And remember, property tax is coming back. Which is going to affect rent prices. So again, just like every little bit can add up in a positive way, it can also add up in a negative way.

    • Good point Chabeth Haynes….however property tax was a terrible political decision to suspend by UNC….but suffice to say…it needed to be reinstalled in the national set up…jus sayin…but agree on the pt of 3500.00 earners…

    • I agree with the reintroduction of the property tax. But again, when you reduce subsidies and increase taxes, you are supposed to find ways to “give back” to lower income earners. That is not going to happen according to my understanding of this budget at this point. But maybe new info will be revealed in the subsequent debates.

    • Vat drop, as well as those who collective agreements that will settle soon will enter the tax bracket….so the increase in the6 taxable allowance from 60k to 72k will assist the small man…i have not heard if job cuts also

    • We will see what the spin offs are we are not sure yet. But we have both made our positions clear already on this.

    • and what about all those doubles vendors – are they all registered and paying taxes?

    • Those probably aren’t the only vendors who get away with that. But fair point.

    • I didn’t want to leave a LONG message that we know annoys some people, likely including yourself hahaha 😉

  25. How many billions did Imbert said was frittered away by the last Gov’t through corruption and wastage?
    Doesn’t that mean that if the country was run better and corruption was even reduced to pre-PP levels or lower, we could easily run T&T without shaking down the small man for $340 million in gas prices?
    I don’t get how people are suddenly saying the country cannot run with that gas subsidy. I would say we should be saying the country cannot run with billions wasted through corruption and incompetence.
    Let’s not blame the fellah with $1,000 Nikes or the ladies spending on their carnival costumes for everything nah. They are not really the problem here in my opinion. 🙂

    • I think the point about the Nikes and carnival costumes is more a matter of priority which the man in the street does not seem to consider. For instance, I am sure that Kelloggs sells more than our local cereals. The PM wants to encourage us to buy local. That should help invigorate our economy!

    • I do understand. But priority is always relative and we should be careful with it. Because it is human nature that we see the other man’s spending as frivolous rather than our own.
      We might see a Miami vacation as necessary for instance. Or a jazz festival.
      I am all for encouraging us to buy local and support our own businessmen.
      My problem is if I think one sector of society pays a higher burden than the others and then is lectured about it too.
      Make no mistake that the small man is not stupid. And he can spot a shaft from a mile away.
      I’m not saying that the budget was evil. I’m saying that squeezing the small man should always be the last priority and never the first.

    • Who is suddenly saying that? People been saying it for donkey’s years

    • “People” here is subjective, Fayola Bostic. You’re from an energy background and your people probably regularly have different conversations.
      For me, leave the low income earners for last when it comes to belt tightening.

  26. Regurgitating old ideas and pretending them to be new It was John Humphreys idea to remove the traffic lights along the CRH also rent to own already exists so nothing new

  27. Bear in mind again that I have no problem with paying a bit more for stuff when taken in isolation because we know the economic situation is bleak.
    My issue, on principle, is that more action should be done against the corrupt people who put us in this mess.
    Or else we are constantly stuck in this cycle and the poor man’s belt gets tighter and tighter while the big boys doing gastric bypass.

  28. In truth, this budget is not particularly friendly to low income earners… people who earn less than 5k a month and will not benefit from the increased disposable income measure.

  29. big business not paying its fair share? Business Levy and Green Fund Levy are not taxes paid by businesses?

    • We all know that SIS makes million dollar payments in cash. We have seen millions of dollars in US being laundered without anyone batting an eye. Or hear about influential people spending millions in cash on real estate.
      What does that have to do with the business levy and green fund levy?
      I’m glad to hear about those levies. But I am bound to question how effective they will be when I know that loads of those companies don’t pay proper taxes in the first place.

    • contrary to popular belief…most large companies in T&T are tax compliant

    • Well, I know one or two that are not. And those companies deal in millions and billions. And I am 100 percent certain. I figure there are bound to be more. But I am happy for them to start knocking on some doors.

    • Agreed that we regulatory bodies that have actual teeth but most business do pay their fair share. The billions needed to run the country does not and cannot come from PAYE and Health Surcharge

    • But colm said they expected to get 340 million. If you went after Jack and ish and Lalla alone for tax fraud and seized property that will be well over that figure. And those are just three men.
      I’ve spoken to someone with knowledge of BIR power and he said they have the legislation and the info.
      But things are set up to discourage it.
      We can easily make up that money from the corrupt among us if they wanted to.
      And that is my problem on principle.

      • Liburd, correct me if I am wrong. Are you saying that if the powers-that-be decide to go after the corrupt among us, that is a problem for you?
        Confession time, poopa!

    • Well I think all administrations seem to lack the will to go after big crooks

    • Yes. This administration has said it will be different. But you now the seeing: Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.
      I hope they surprise me and do just that. That is what will make the country better for all. Not taking away the people and them ability to splurge on a costume once a year.

    • Lasana Liburd, the FIU and the BIR can get invoke POCA and confiscate the funds of anyone on a money laundering charge – that includes tax evasion.

    • Yes. And they haven’t been doing it. Can you remember any high profile example of it ever happening Judy?

    • Lasana Liburd None but there is a first time. Actually Dole Chadee.

    • Fact is, they are afraid as any other government to go after the big fish and that is most likely to do with the political campaign support as well. Business Levy and Green Fund is outside of what Lasana is addressing here Nicole, if I may tag you. I hope all those supporting the hike in gas prices and property taxes won’t regret their current thrill and by the way, property taxes rightfully are to be used to fund work in the community where your property is located – parks, roads, pavements, maintenance, clean up to name a few, NOT to make up for lost/missing treasury money. The property tax in other countries even supports the community police for more patrols in your area etc and I’m pretty sure all that will not be provided; one of the reasons for this tax is that road, waste water construction is so highly expensive. Plus it’s extremely important now due to guess what? The same climate change that Imbert addressed. I want to see how all of this will pan out in time. I was always one who supported these types of taxes but am not doing so for misappropriation.

      Lottery income in other first world countries is also used to do the same – community work i.e. parks, minor roads, bridges etc and to date, I have no idea what the lottery income is being used for – does anyone know by the way? If it were me, I’d have created more lottery games and you would have seen the money flow from the small man, much bigger wins and no one complaining, Hiking gas prices, the poor will feel it more than ever just taking taxis. We will see, I’d like to remain positive

  30. My position will always be to go after the lower income earners last. When billion dollar companies are not paying taxes or properly declaring their income, I don’t enjoy lectures about tightening my belt.

    • Agreed but this is the problem with the democratic system in the western world where “big companies” contributed heavily to both to the winner and looser in political campaigns/elections.

      Those same big companies who not paying taxes gives parties money in election seasons (although I’m not sure how massive it is in Trinidad compared to USA or UK). So inevitably those big companies never get targeted first in the “tightening belt” talk or at all frankly.

      This is the pseudo government racket that keeps itself from Berlin right down to Brasillia.

      ‘Democracy” in its current form needs a face lift.

    • Actually research has often shown that the subsidy benefits higher incomes and not the small man people are crying for. Whether you believe the research that comes from places like the IMF is up to you, but we can’t deny the annual cost to the government.

  31. Lasana, what we need to start doing is condensing the promises into a list that can be stuck on a wall and we can tick off as we go along. Except that a lot of the “We will do” and “We will ensure that” does not have a how to it.
    Typical of everything in this lovely country of ours. We are great at assessing problems, conceptualizing solutions, but operationalizing the solutions to make it happen is always a problem. I guess it is still better to live in hope than to die in despair.

  32. The problem we currently face however, is that when subsidies are reduced, the savings should be invested into relief initiatives for those on the lower end of the income scale. But given out current economic situation, I’m not sure that’s how we can afford to use the money. Unfortunately.

  33. There’s always outcry and bitching at first when ppl have to pay more for something. It was the same reaction when the PP reduced the subsidy on premium gas. The PP was so intimidated by all the noise that they didn’t continue reducing the gas subsidy in subsequent years when they should have.

  34. My two cents. Everybody harping on the increase in gas prices but if you look at our neighbouring countries and all over the world we have always had the cheapest gas and still do.. We knew the budget had to be a belt tightening one due to the rampant overspending from the previous regime so where does one start? Nobody heard that we were 98% into our overdraft at central bank? When in the history of our nation have we had such an occurence? But the funniest thing everybody who bitching about the increase in gas prices won’t forgo their regular trips to KFC or their $1,000 Nike sneakers. Priorities my dear folks, priorities. Under the current circumstances i think this was the only position they could take. Lets hope it’s just not all talk and that they will implement some of the programs outlined in the budget especially the local government reforms and the sports programs in school amonst others. Also we needed to re introduce the land and building taxes which should never have been taken away in the first place.. Know i’m not going to make any friends for my statements but i call it as i see it.

    • My question is how that situation was alowed to happen re ovetftaft. So nobody thought to raise an alarm?

    • Exactly. The CB Gorvernor was incompetent for the job in the first instance and he was jus eating ah food like everybody else.

    • And…he still there. Hopefully a proper review will bre done at central bank to get a full picture. And then hold some ppl accountable. Wonder if all the $us they were pumping into the system contributed to that.

    • Of course it did. They fix up themselves and their cronies so now it’s we the populace who has to pay the price. Ah hope they jail a few.

    • Political interference is the reason for such overdraft

    • Precisely Kerwin that’s why all of them should be held accountable.

    • I don’t have $1,000 Nikes and I don’t make regular trips to KFC. I just think this is an oil and gas country and it isn’t the poor man who messes up the system.
      And I think there can make more than $340 million from other measures against the big business people who bleeding the country. Or the money launderers who’re not paying tax on their money at all.
      I know full well that T&T gas is very cheap compared to the rest of the world. But my position is go after the poor man last.

    • Lasana Liburd as citizens we benefit from public goods namely; roads, schools; hospitals, police service, army and other protective services which to do bring revenue to the treasury…simply said taxes are a necessity….and the country just cannit afford to maintain this high subsidy on gas…eventually we have adjust our lives….the small man has benefited from the increase in persinal allowances from 5k to 6k…kastlt taxes are progressive base on income volume u pay accordingly….render on to Caesar whatnis Caesar’s…..lets do this together !!

    • I already said how the Gov’t can easily raise $340 million without decreasing the subsidy at the moment.
      If you listened to Imbert closely Trini Don, you would have heard him say how many billions were squandered and lost by corruption and wastage.
      So go listen to it again and come back and tell me if the country cannot run without shaking down the small man for an extra $340 million.

    • YES we have to fix the leakages in the system, via corruption and wastage etc…but we must also slowly ween ourselves off the gas subsidy….

    • Lasana Liburd maybe a spinoff benefit from the decreased subsidy is the environmental impact. We are one of the most polluted countries for Co2 emission. Maybe now ppl would be more conscious of how they use their vehicles-plan errands when they out, car pool, use public transport on occassion. Just a thought eh.

    • You won’t encourage less pollution in that way in Trinidad. We are not roused by negativity in that way. They have to come with better incentives than that to curb pollution.
      And that is the same argument as: Stop foreign used cars to curb emissions and let cars be a luxury item for those who can afford it.
      It is a sort of elite argument when you try to solve something by pricing out the poor people so only the rich can afford it.
      If you want to help curb pollution, improve the transport system. Many people would love to be driven if it wasn’t so much stress.
      Many of us prefer to take the bus than get a rental when we go abroad.

    • We were watching the HSF like a hawk so instead of touching it and getting us upset, they just used it as collateral.

    • While I understand the “need” to decrease the subsidy. I think Lasana is making a very valid point. The subsidy is one of (if not the only) way all citizens enjoy the benefit of being a gas producing nation. And a proper explanation should be given as to why our gas should not be cheap. Smaller gas state enjoy more from their gas Bahrain is one. Why can’t we reclaim all the money stolen under the last PNM admin and the PP and the UNC before that the airport teifing and all that. When will we make it mandatory that public and private officials caught tiefing be made to pay back every cent and this should be backdated.

      When will we stop wasting money renting govt offices? When will we stop wasting money transport prisoner with private security when some courts can be located closer to the prison or night court opened (or whatever) to allowed smoother less costly system? These are cost cutting measures too.

    • The reason our gas should not be cheap is because the subsidy costs too much, is not sustainable, and we need to be weaned off of it. It hurts but it has to go. Better gradually than all at once.

    • And would you say the energy sector from your experience Fayola Bostic is part of the problem or part of the solution? Has the Energy sector been functioning in a cost effective way or reasonably close to it?

    • Lasana Liburd how could the energy sector be functioning in an efficient where we have probably the only energy sector that runs at a loss, where management drives luxury cars pd for by us, where an employee’s wife coukd run up huge sum on transport and nothing is done about it. There is no incentive, just as at CAL, to be efficient. Money WOULD be found.

    • “The energy sector” meaning the individual businesses and agencies that operate in it? I am not sure I understand the question of being a part of the problem or solution. The main players are foreign private businesses beholden to their shareholders. There is room to decrease wastages and reduce cost that will benefit their businesses. Whether or not the government has been able to retrieve the tax revenue from them that they would like while balancing incentives for them to explore and increase production is widely debated. But they have little impact on prices at the pump and government decision to subsidise fuel.

    • Nerisha Mohammed the sector operates at a loss? I don’t understand how you have come to that conclusion.

    • As well, we need to review the contracts with those companies. Because we give incentives to said companies, we may not get the maximum benefit.

    • Fayola Bostic not the sector lol just our local energy company. They cannot finish an administrative complex due to funds. It seems that co does not operate efficiently.

    • I didn’t mean if they impact on prices at the pump Fayola Bostic. Just that there are so many areas of inefficiency in Trinidad.
      And I would like the government to not always go after the easy targets.
      Fair to me is if you make everyone chip in.
      I know people mentioned the various levies which is good. But there is a lot of illegal money that is laundered around. We need to go after that.
      These are not even sophisticated crimes in referring to.

    • If weaning the population off the gas subsidy was easy it would have been done years ago. I agree that there are many areas of inefficiencies and bad spending that should also be attacked.

    • Right, I believe in the concept of taxes and I’m happy to contribute. But when the wealthy abuse the system and the poor and middle class people are asked to pay more to make up for their nonsense… That is what I have a problem with.
      Not all wealthy people. But we know that crooked ones that I’m referring to.
      Once Colm, Keithos or anyone can show me that they are breaking their backs to make the system more fair, then I’m cool with that.
      But I haven’t seen that yet. So I’m not too pleased.

    • Lasana Liburd u forget in our accounting system we have off the book payments etc. If there is no system linked to pick up shortfalls in income and assets then this would continue

    • Lasana Liburd give Uncle Colm and Kiethos ah little credit nah the budget was done in 3wks…… the increases could’ve been more also Colm did say each Minister would expand on their Ministry.

    • Agree Jamelia Hazel Ann Reid-Cato

  35. One of the things he said is that more details on each sector would be provided by the Ministers as part of their presentations to the budget debate. Interesting that they want to meet on Saturday. Maybe that means the end of the all nighters!

  36. Would have been much better if he dealt with the current situation rather than try to score cheap political points over the past regime. He showed no class in his delivery.

  37. just for accuracy – your tax saving is $250 per month if you earn $6,000 per month

  38. Yuh leave out all the goodies for pensioners

  39. “Arts, fashion design, culture and tourism will become major drivers of productivity and growth in our country.” But how Shortman (Imbert) ?

  40. ‘Skype lime’…I down for a trial.

  41. That will be difficult since some of its staff has no access to the internet Nerisha

  42. @lasana remind me again of what is the use of broadband services nationally? The internet is used as a resource to access information, literally in seconds-well minutes if you have the green ppl-but have you taken a look at the website of many of our govt ministries and state enterprises? Seems we don’t have info to share or we don’t like to share it. The MOE had a relatively useful website tho with resources for parents and students. Hope this is addressed soon on all govt websites and this may assist ppl going/calling to their offices with simple queries, hopefully improving efficiency. Just thinking/hoping.

  43. Yup collection of taxes from persons-self employed or otherwise-is critical to the economy. These same ppl who earn an income would down the road want to benefit from our tax paying dollars for NIS/pensions/disability/maternity so let us all see the value in paying our dues. Ppl who buy vehicles for use as ‘taxi’ to get exemptions and never work taxi. I don’t recall hearing about NIS but read somewhere they could be bankrupt in a few years. Cut costs in rental bldgs and use gov’t bldgs. And I would like to know how they going to diverdify agriculture or stimulate the economy. Grow boxes for more economic use of space on concrete rooftops thus cutting food import bills? Community gardens? As for taking sport to the community, that has its pros and cons. Sport at the community level could build healthy bodies, families and communities. That means maintaining community grounds, sponsoring local games/matches. But you need to maintain national competition to improve standard/s. Sport is now a science, we cant rely on raw talent anymore. And why dont athletes cross train to develop grace, strength and stamina? Anyways…forward ever.

  44. Between the Ministry of Sport, the SPORTT Company and now this Sports Institute, there have to be redundancies and inefficiencies somewhere.