Monday, September 9, 2013

THA focus on opportunities not dollars

While the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has its expectations for tomorrow’s national budget presentation by Finance Minister Larry Howai, THA Chief Secretary Orville London says whatever the budgetary allocation is, it will not be enough to carry out the responsibilities of the Assembly. 

“So when we listen to the debate (tomorrow) our focus will not only be on the monetary allocation but our focus will also be on the signals coming from the Minister of Finance with respect to the type of opportunities that he will be providing to the Tobago House of Assembly to access funding or to get involved in arrangements that will enable us to be able to provide ourselves with the resources,” London said.

He hoped Tobago’s ability to borrow will be addressed as well as the THA’s ability to get involved in private partnership.

“We are also expecting there will be an indication as to how we deal with Tobago’s housing situation. We have a backlog of 6,000 applicants at this time. At the rate at which we receive funding, we receive an average of  $20 million a year which can provide for about 30 houses.”

London said he was aware of the constraints of the minister, but he was expecting either the requisite funding or opportunities to be provided for access to resources to keep Tobago on its development path. 

London said Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries will be on retreat Thursday and Friday to look at the way forward with respect to the budgetary allocation to the THA. 

London was speaking at the weekly media briefing last Thursday on the sister island.
In June, Finance Secretary Joel Jack presented a $4.9 billion budget at the Assembly’s Chamber. 


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