In T&T: A lot needs to be done on crime Chamber CEO:

26 July 2012

Plain and simple; “we don’t fix the crime, we are not going to see the economy moving.”

THE Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce wants the Government to implement budget items that were approved in the last budget, but had not yet seen the light of day.

Chamber president Andrew Sabga made this call yesterday just before and after a meeting with Finance Minister Larry Howai at the Eric Williams Financial Complex, saying a lot still needed to be done.

The Chamber gave its pre-2012/13 budget recommendations at the meeting with Howai.

“And we feel that things need to be speeded up. Many of the budget announcements of last year have not necessarily come to fruition and we would like to see some of those, in particular the divestment of the public enterprises, in particular First Citizens and the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company. We anxiously await those to be on the Stock Exchange,” Sabga said.

He said the Chamber would not just drop the issue and move on, because the fiscal year had passed but be expects that the items that have been highlighted would continue to be implemented.

Sabga said the Chamber stuck to its five focal areas at the meeting with Howai.

This, he said, included a host of crime initiatives, several of which they wanted the Government to adopt.

Chamber chief executive officer Catherine Kumar said the biggest thing the Chamber wanted from the budget was to have crime fixed.

“Fix crime. From the Ministry of Finance, we have to allocate money. We need to use the technology that exists outside there. If we don’t fix the crime, we are not going to see the economy moving, therefore he (Howai) is not going to get revenue.

“We don’t always cut expenditure, we have to look at how we increase revenue but it is not going to come if we don’t fix the crime,” she said.

Howai said he wanted to look at how Government could increase revenue across the board.

“Certainly there are parts of our operation that needs to be more efficient but you don’t shrink yourself into growth. Growth comes from the top-line. Growing revenue, growing business, growing economy,” he said.

He said he would try to create some context in the 2012/ 2013 budget and identify programmes that would take more than one year to execute.

Howai said he had signalled that there would probably be a deficit budget this year and that would go on for a while, but had already set some time frames around that.


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