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London optimistic about allocation for Tobago
Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Orville London has high expectations for Tobago when Finance Minister Larry Howai reads the budget tomorrow.
Speaking at the recent post executive council news conference, London said they would evaluate the overall budget allocation. “We’re hoping that this year that the allocation does not break the law. All administrations, their allocation to Tobago is primarily based on the decision not to break the law, as the law states that Tobago must get between 4.03 and 6.9 per cent, so to give us less that the 4.03 is in fact breaking the law,” he said.
London said based on past trends, the requested amount is not likely to be given to the THA. In the 2014/2015 THA budget estimates presented in June by Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development Joel Jack, $5.6 billion was requested.
“I am aware of the demands made on any minister of finance and I don’t think that there is any ministry or unit that would get what it requested. It is not only about the quantum of the allocations, but also about the opportunities that you give us in Tobago to do what is necessary for our own development,” he said. When asked what figure Tobago was expecting, London did not say.
“I am not going to go down that road… because what I am expecting is going to be that the minister is going to be guided not only by the arithmetic, but also the development opportunities, and the overall needs of the people of Tobago,” he said.
“It is not just about the allocation, it also has to do with opportunities for development. I am hoping that among the areas which the Minister of Finance would deal would be support for the Tobago House of Assembly in its efforts to access the requisite funding
for its development projects, because we know that whatsoever is allocated would not be sufficient to give us the kind of leverage to ensure that our development projects are completed.”
He noted that the THA was looking for support towards the Public, Private Partnership programme, an idea which he said the minister embraced at the national level. “I hope that they will be more sensitive to the needs of Tobago,” he added. Following the national budget presentation in Trinidad, the THA is expected to be read its own budget for that island in October.
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