Economist: TT continues to run at a deficit

Agricultural Economist, Omardath Maharaj, expressed this concern yesterday when responding to how the new budget will impact the agricultural sector.

He explained that one of the contributors to this deficit is the high demand in the country for imported food, and that the agricultural sector has been calling for greater education of the public on how their demand for foreign foods negatively affects the economy.

“I think overall, looking at what was said in the budget, we are going into another year of a budget deficit and, in this case, the non-energy sector is supposed to take the lead,” Maharaj said “Yes, we heard the incentive, but wanted to hear some of the things we would do to curb other forms of behaviour, such as relating to food. The other things that this budget missed, I think, is an opportunity to focus the population’s attention to the experience of Venezuela on one side and Barbados on the other side. The Venezuelan experience was thoroughly well documented, as their economic circumstances have been enduring for some time.

Standard and Poor’s downgraded Barbados six notches to B-, which are downgrade bonds or non investment bonds. And one of the reasons for that is its persistent budget deficit.

“So we in Trinidad continue to run deficits, of course, and a contributor to that is our demand for imported food.

Shiraz Khan, President of the Sheep and Goats Farmers’ Association, regarded the new tax incentive of “all approved agro processing operations” being tax free, with suspicion. He pointed out that not all farmers are agro processors and this tax break will likely favour wealthy businessmen who are involved in agriculture.

Khan said that it is doubtful that the new allocation of $766 million would be sufficient for the Ministry, given that the previous allocation of $1.2 billion, did not meet the needs of the sector.

He also lamented the increase in diesel prices highlighting the fact that most vehicles used for farming use diesel.


"Economist: TT continues to run at a deficit"

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