Chief Secretary Farley Augustine. PHOTO COURTESY THA –
THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine claimed a “very progressive agenda” can be expected on Thursday when the 2022-2023 THA fiscal package is presented in the Assembly Legislature,
Augustine, who is also Secretary of Finance, Trade and the Economy, was speaking at Friday’s virtual post-executive council media briefing.
The budget will be read on Thursday from 10 am.
He added: “We are required in this month of June to present a budget, have it passed in the House of Assembly in the Assembly Legislature, and then that budget request is sent down to Parliament via the Minister of Finance. In fact, it’s sent by the Office of the Chief Secretary to the Minister of Finance.”
He said this year there would be three days of debate, as opposed to the usual two days.
“That’s owing to the fact that we have a significantly larger assembly than we had previously. The response and debates we expect to happen on the 28th and 29th of June.”
Without going in to detail about the presentation, he said it would be “green” and create some shockwaves.
“We begin the build-out in earnest for the greatest little island on the planet.” He described it as “a very green budget – green is the colour of the budget. Green is a good colour, colour for sustainable development, colour for environmentally sound policies, colour for rejuvenation and of course colour for restoration.
“So expect a lot of that in this upcoming budget, expect some novel ideas, expect some groundbreaking ideas and of course as our name – the name of our party suggests –we’ll be very progressive.” The assembly is dominated by the Progressive Democratic Patriots.
It would be “a very progressive agenda,” Farley reiterated, “one like never before seen on the island of Tobago and perhaps in the country, and we expect that some of our policies will create some shockwaves.”
Amidst the deadlock in 2021, the 2021-2022 budget presentation was not presented or debated in the House. Nevertheless, then Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary of Finance and the Economy Joel Jack said the notice had gone out to all THA divisions to prepare estimates for fiscal 2021-2022.
Jack said the House was unable to table and debate a budget, given the six-six tie. But he said stakeholders were consulted in the development of the budget estimates and the budget section was charged with the responsibility to prepare and review the submissions and thereafter a submission would be made to the Minister of Finance to discuss the way forward.
A total of $4.7 billion was requested, while $2.357 billion was allocated to include $2.075 billion for recurrent expenditure, $264 million for capital expenditure and $18 million for the URP programme.
Tobago’s minimum allocation of the national budget is 4.03 per cent, as mandated by the Dispute Resolution Commission.