The Trinidad and Tobago government yesterday presented a budget of TT$62.8 billion to Parliament outlining a host of new taxes including, a 15 per cent increase on gasoline and diesel prices that went into effect immediately as the new Keith Rowley government seeks to revive an ailing economy.
But Finance Minister Colm Imbert who called on both the private sector and the trade union movement to help the new People’s National Movement (PNM) government rebuild an economy that came “perilously close to collapsing,” said the new taxes measures outlined are expected to yield an additional TT$5.2 billion and reduce expenditure by TT$340 million.
The Finance Minister announced measures that would assist old age pensioners as well as reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 15 to 12.5 per cent.
In a two hour presentation, Imbert said there would also be an increase in the allowance for personal income tax from TT$60,000 to TT$72,000 from January 1 next year that would allow for an additional TT$250 million dollars to be in circulation.
He also announced a number of other incentives for the elderly including free drivers licences, free passports as well as discounts on utility bills over the coming months.
Imbert said that farmers will also benefit from the new fiscal measures as the government seeks to ensure food security in the twin island state .