AMCHAM T&T Responds to the 2021-2022 National Budget Presentation
By: AMCHAM T&T | October 6th, 2021
AMCHAM T&T sees the 2022 budget statement as an attempt to re-inject confidence in the economy. We acknowledge the range of issues discussed in the budget and the links between our continued need to rely on the energy sector as we transition to other areas, such as tech. We see the modernisation of the country’s infrastructure as an imperative to achieve the transition as articulated by the Minister and we look forward to the execution of these plans.
The tax incentives announced are clearly designed to encourage business activity. These incentives must be complimented by other efforts to improve the ease of doing business. Together this will create more jobs and revenue for the country.
In the current environment, we appreciate that the Government has to play a significant role in stimulating the economy and, as such, that this would be another year of deficit financing. While the Minister spoke of a return to a primary fiscal surplus in 2024, that can only be achieved through a commitment to co-ordinated execution to bring these measures into effect.
We are comfortable with the assumptions the Minister made with regard to the prices of oil and gas used in the budget.
AMCHAM T&T applauds the government for strengthening its commitment on the digital transformation of the economy especially since this can accelerate the economic recovery both with tech being an enabler and an industry in itself.
We note the re-committment to several initiatives announced in previous budgets such as the National Statistical Institute, the introduction of a National Digital Identity and electronic funds transfer implementation. AMCHAM T&T welcomes this and looks forward to the creation of the enabling legislative framework to facilitate the digital economy.
We note the intention to make the upstream sector more attractive and trust that these changes will be made ahead of the 2022 bid-round. We also look forward to the expansion of the voluntary compliance program under the Customs and Excise division so that shipments can be fast-tracked from compliant logistics companies.
The announcement of trade facilitation offices in overseas markets such as Guyana, Jamaica and England are welcome. However, we continue to strongly advocate for the establishment of a High Commission in Guyana.
We also welcome the incentives for companies to list on the SME exchange. This hopefully will lead to increased opportunities for the growth of SMEs and deepen the capital markets.
What seemed to be the beginning of the rationalisation of the state enterprise sector was also a welcome development. So too is the announcement of the re-start of the National Apprenticeship Programme.
We do remain concerned, however, that not many details were forthcoming on the reduction of expenditure over the medium term to ensure more value for money. We look forward to the details of the restructuring of WASA and the HDC in this regard.