MINISTER in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West said Government is putting measures in place to ensure TT’s post-covid19 economic recovery is as robust as possible.
She was piloting The Finance (Supplementary Appropriation) (Financial Year 2020) Bill in the Senate Monday.
She said the shutting down of all but essential services as part of covid19 prevention measures was obviously going to have a significant economic impact on a country that expected growth for the first time in years.
“However our first priority was, and continues to be, to protect the lives of our citizens. Despite the loud and persistent cries of our detractors, this government refuses to be reckless with the lives of citizens.”
West said despite the reopening of the economy after two months of significantly reduced activity Government was still being cautious and making decisions based on the best available scientific advice.
She expressed sympathy to all families and communities affected by the pandemic and also commended devoted and hard-working personnel.
“While the full effects and the duration of the virus is still unknown, our strategic initiatives have been swift and decisive as we stop the spread of the disease and minimise the economic consequences.”
She said that was done in the context of the erosion of the oil and gas tax revenue base.
“Our fiscal and monetary response has provided a bridge to support businesses and individuals to help to ensure that the recovery will be as robust and as swift as possible.”
She then outlined financial support for citizens including food cards, public assistance and disability assistance, food hampers, the salary relief grant and rental assistance. She said these and other social support measures will cost $400 million up to July 2020.
West also commented on the report from the Road Map to Recovery Team and said that a leaked version was a draft. She asked that detractors of this version to defer their judgment. She said the official report, which had the participation of 1,000 citizens will be a tool for TT to build, grow and thrive.