Speakers included Mr Anthony Paul, Energy and Strategy Consultant, who showed compelling reasons for the need for diversification of Trinidad and Tobago’s Oil and Gas sector through knowledge and technology transfer from foreign technical experts to locals. He also made the case for increasing local content and boosting exploration activity.
Brian Jahra, Co-Founder and Chairman of CinemaONE Limited put forward a case for enabling greater SME activity in the economy saying that approximately 70% of businesses are SME’s and that good preforming economies have a high percentage of strong performing SMEs.
Wade George, Tax Managing Partner at Ernst & Young said that while this years budget didn’t have a heavy focus on tax he could recommend areas for future improvement.
The Feature Speaker, Finance Minister Colm Imbert, indicated that according to CSO statistics there was 2% real growth in GDP in 2018.
He also said the Manufacturing sector grew by 7% and the Petrochemical by 9%.
The Minister promised to pay VAT refunds over the coming year and hold off on increases to income tax for the next two years. He said that the La Brea Dry Dock Project is expected to provide 13,000 jobs. And the Foreign Exchange Tax Credit incentive will be operational by January 1st 2019.
I look forward to seeing more incentive mechanisms for SMEs and the Non-energy sector in future budgets.