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Financial News

Jul 2012 Financial News

Budget at end of September...could be about $50b

Jul 12, 2012

The Cabinet reshuffle has pushed this year's National Budget presentation tentatively to the end of September.

And it will be in the vicinity of about $50 billion.

In an interview with the Express at his office in Port of Spain yesterday, Finance Minister Larry Howai said because of the changes to Government ministries and ministerial portfolios, none of his Cabinet colleagues had yet submitted their budget requests and proposals to him.

"I'm looking at probably late September for the Budget. Because of all the changes in ministries and ministers—even if a ministry did not change, there's a new minister—we've had to redo all the budgets, so everything will have to be resubmitted and reallocated," he said.

He said he was therefore running a little behind schedule, since everyone had to almost start over the process (of analysing finances).

"I'm aiming for late September to give everybody time to revisit and resubmit," he said.

The previous Budget was delivered by former Finance Minister Winston Dookeran on October 10, 2011.

Howai said yesterday that the "ballpark figure" for this year's 2012/2013 Budget will be about the same as the last one- around $50 billion. Last year's Budget topped out at $56.4 billion, the largest in the country's history, and had a $7.6 billion deficit.

Last month, former Finance Minister Winston Dookeran went to Parliament for approval for an added $1.5 billion for Government spending.

Howai had previously stated that this Budget will possibly be running another deficit, which would be necessary to stimulate growth through government spending. He had also stated Monday that his focus will be on capital spending for infrastructural development, leading to long term economic benefits for the country.

By Carla Bridglal
Trinidad Express
Thursday July 12, 2012