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Budget debate continues today

Monday, September 16, 2013

The debate on the 2013/2014 budget is expected to continue today at 10 am in the House of Representatives, Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain. The $61.3 billion budget was presented by Finance Minister Larry Howai last Monday.



In his reply last Friday, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley called for a revised development plan—Vision 2030—and the return of the $10 billion rapid rail. Regarding crime, Rowley said the PNM was recommending the immediate abolition of the complicated arrangements for the appointment of a police commissioner.



Saying the PNM had also proposed a standing committee of Parliament Rowley added it would be responsible for the oversight of security and crime suppression. Arouca/Maloney MP Alicia Hospedales who also contributed to the debate last Friday called on the People’s Part­nership Government to account for more than $2 billion in what she alleged was a mismanagement of finances in various ministries including sport, health, local government and education. 


She also called Minister of the Peo­ple and Social Devel­op­­­­­­ment Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh to say how the $3 billion allocated to bring relief to needy citizens was actually used. During his two-and-a-half hour presentation, Howai outlined a number of incentives aimed at encouraging the use of compressed natural gas—a prelude to a reduction of the national fuel subsidy. Howai also announced that the property tax would return on a phased basis.


The Finance Minister also proposed a tax allowance of 100 per cent, up to $40,000 per vehicle for the conversion to CNG, effective January 2014. He also proposed that Government discontinue the fuel subsidy to Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL), excluding the subsidy to the Tobago airlift.


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