Finance Minister

Imbert to banks: Ease up the elderly, please

Finance Minister Colm Imbert says he will be asking the banks to waive their service fee for changing the $100 bills, especially for elderly citizens, but noted that the state cannot compel them to do so by law.

The minister told Parliament this morning that under the current law the central bank is empowered to fix bank charges and fees with respect to loans, deposits and credit finances, but it does not apply to over the counter transactions.

He said they may need to consider changing that.

UNC: “We are not against the OWTU…”

The United National Congress has made it clear that the party did not file any lawsuit seeking an injunction to block the sale of the Pointe-a-Pierre Refinery.

The political party has issued an official statement, in which it explains that concerned citizens are the ones who’ve filed the constitutional claim.

The lawsuit has been filed against the Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Energy Affairs—Finance Minister Colm Imbert—over his failure to convene a meeting for close to two years.

UNC moves to block sale of Petrotrin

The Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC) is seek­ing an in­junc­tion tem­porar­i­ly block­ing the sale of Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre re­fin­ery. 

The par­ty, through its for­mer sen­a­tor Wayne Sturge, filed the in­junc­tion ap­pli­ca­tion yes­ter­day as part of a con­sti­tu­tion­al mo­tion law­suit over the fail­ure of Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert to hold a Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee (JSC) on En­er­gy Af­fairs for the past 19 months. 

No CEPEP cuts, circumstances permitting—Minister

Cir­cum­stances “per­mit­ting,” there will be no cuts in the CEPEP labour force or con­trac­tors, said Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Kaz­im Ho­sein yes­ter­day.

Ho­sein said if the need aris­es, it may be re­viewed, “but as of to­day there will be no cuts”. He stressed this dur­ing yes­ter­day’s Stand­ing Fi­nance Com­mit­tee scruti­ny of the 2020 Bud­get.

MOONILAL: "What's the real story with CEPEP and URP wage increases?"

Opposition Member of Parliament, Dr Roodal Moonilal, is calling on the Finance Minister to clarify the wage increase for both CEPEP and URP workers.

During the Finance Minister’s 2020 Budget Presentation last Monday, Government explained that these workers' wage increase takes into account the new cap for the Minimum Wage.

However, Dr Moonilal says this explanation has raised more questions than provided answers.

Opposition Leader: “2020 Budget an insult to the poor.”

In her opening salvos of her response to the Finance Minister’s Budget Presentation… Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar S.C., has described the 2020 Budget as an insult to the poor.

She says government should call the general election now.

According to Opposition Leader, the Finance Minister did little more than throw crumbs at the most vulnerable in the society.

The Opposition Leader argues that government’s provisions have meant that CEPEP’s allocation was the lowest in years.

Congress of the People on 2020 Budget

 

The political leader of the Congress of the People says Monday’s budget failed to address urgent measures needed to transform the country's economy.

According to Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, the fiscal measures announced only appear to achieve short term political gains, as opposed to sustainable development.

She said the government's macroeconomic position was out of sync with reality.

TTCSI comments on Budget 2020

The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) is calling for more details on Government's proposed interest bearing bonds for registered VAT businesses to meet arrears.

On Monday, the Finance Minister said as a solution to settle $4.5 billion in VAT refunds owed to businessmen, Government is offering $3 billion bonds for a period of five years, with an interest rate of 1.5 percent per annum.

Imbert hits back at economists again

Finance Minister Colm Imbert is once again hitting back at economists.

Speaking at a PNM rally last evening in Barataria, Minister Imbert says the government has collected more money in tax than initially projected but the economists are not accepting the figures.   

Last month, Minister Imbert criticised five economists saying they were unfair and biased when commenting on how the government is managing the economy.

And on the energy front, the Finance Minister says that while gas production is up, the government is yet to see the returns.

 

TTMA pleased Minister is considering giving manufacturers higher priority for foreign exchange

The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers' Association says it is extremely pleased by the Minister of Finance's pronouncements yesterday at the post-Cabinet briefing that strong consideration will be given to afford manufacturers a higher priority as it relates to access to foreign exchange.

"Such news is welcomed as foreign exchange within the manufacturing community is critical to our operations and export growth mandate," the TTMA said in a statement.

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