CI Shorts: Five things we have learnt about the Trinidad economy

Trinidad Budget cover

 

Trinidad and Tobago is often hailed as the oil and natural gas-rich giant of the Caribbean Community CARICOM. However, the 2018 Budget presented on 2 October was headlined as ‘Changing the paradigm’ at a time of falling oil and gas income.

Here are five top take-outs from the T&T Budget:

  • Fuel subsidies amount to TT$800m (that’s US$118m or £89m). “We are overrun by subsidies”, Finance Minister Colm Imbert told parliament. Privatelyowned popular maxi taxi transport owners have already raised their concerns, accusing the government of trying to “crash” their industry.

 

  • Trinidad and Tobago’s gaming industry is worth an estimated TT$15$20bn (that’s US$2.6bn or £1.6bn). Imbert says the government receives “little or no” taxes from this industry.
  • Total revenue from the energy sector has fallen from TT$28bn (US$4.1bn/ £3.1bn) to TT$9bn (US$1.3bn/£1bn) since 2014. Government calls it a “catastrophic decline” and that “it can no longer be business as usual”.
  • Imbert: “Many economists believe in the existence of what is called the Dutch Disease in Trinidad and Tobago, that is to say, a paradoxical situation where seemingly good news, such as the discovery of large oil reserves, turns out in the long run to have a negative impact on a country’s broader economy.”
  • Imbert: “We must cut our cloth to suit our clothes. We cannot continue to live on borrowed money.”

Taken from the 2018 Trinidad & Tobago Budget

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