Increase in minimum wage included in $53b budget

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    A 53.036 billion dollar budget has been presented by Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

    This package is pegged on an oil price of $60 per barrel and a gas price of $3.00 per mmbtu.

    The allocations are as follows:

    TOBAGO

    Tobago meanwhile will receive $2.283 billion, which amounts to 4.3% of the national budget.

    MINIMUM WAGE, SALARIES, STIPENDS

    The package most notably includes increases in minimum wage, as well as OJT stipends.

     

    There are also increases in CEPEP and URP salaries.

     

    DAILY PAID PUBLIC SERVANTS BENEFIT

    There is also a benefit for retired Daily Paid Public Servants.

     

    PERSONAL GOODS ALLOWANCE AT AIRPORTS

    The personal goods allowance limit at airports will also be increased, from $3000 to $5000, effective December 1st 2019.

    ENERGY CONSERVATION

    The Finance Minister has also announced an initiative to transition homes from incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs.

    This will be at the State’s expense.

     

    HOUSING

    Housing was also identified as a major issue of concern.

    According to Mr Imbert, the supply of public housing has not been able to keep pace with demand.

    The Minister’s proposed solution involves the use of small contractors.

     

    AGRICULTURE

    Regarding the agricultural sector, Mr Imbert promised to remove taxes for registered farmers, with the eventual goal of making it a tax-free sector.

     

    OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

    The tax allowance for corporate sponsorship of sport, culture etc will be increased from $3m to $6m.

    Pensioners will not need to provide life certificates to the Treasury

    Government to cease the use of plastic water bottles in its offices. This will be effective from January 1st 2020

    The Parliament will return to the Red House from January 2020. The current space being used at the IFC to house the Parliament will be converted for use by civil courts.

    The President will soon return to President’s House, with restoration work near completion

    Daycare centers will be established for children less than 3 years old. This will cater to female-headed households. Criteria to apply

    A shelter will be established for females who are displaced or victims of abuse. This will be established by the HDC

    The Magdalena Grand Hotel in Tobago will be rebranded after coming under the control of a new, international operator