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Tuesday, October 24 2017 @ 05:30 AM AST

Trinidad & Tobago to let US dollar price fluctuate more, but still intervene

FROM TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO FINANCE MINISTER COLM IMBERT READS THE NATIONAL BUDGET FOR FISCAL 2017/2018 IN PARLIAMENT IN PORT OF SPAIN TODAY:

* Trinidad & Tobago government to sell CL Financial debt: "Total expended by govts to CL Financial - $23.1 billion. Debt recovery to be divested on stock exchange or in new national mutual fund" - Government Information Services Ltd (GISL)

* Govt to create reality TV show offering grant funding up to $100k to entrepreneurs; new Business Development Programme allocated $50 million

* US$100 million to be made available to exporters who join export promotion programme through which recipients must repatriate some of the US dollars they make

* Imbert expects Trinidad and Tobago to meet gas demand of 4.3 bcf/d by 2020 thanks to Juniper (590 mmscfd) Sercan by EOG (275 mmscfd), BP's TROC, BP's Angelin, Shell's Starfish, Dolphin, Bounty and Endeavour, BP's Cassia

* Imbert expects 2.69 tcf for TT in Loran Manatee (over 10 tcf) expected to come on stream by 2023

* 35,000 new or used cars brought into T&T over last year; Govt to build flyovers to eliminate all traffic lights between PoS and Arima by 2019

* Remove restrictions on maxi taxi licences and persons will be able to drive wherever they please; no more red, blue, green band maxis

* Govt promises two new hospitals (150 beds) in Arima and Point Fortin

* DEFICIT WAS $12.6 BILLION IN FISCAL 2016/2017
* * Expenditure was $50.3 billion, $3 billion less than projected
* * Deficit financed by drawdown from HSF, US$300m loan from CAF, US$280 million from IDB, domestic financing $6.6 billion from bond issues; net public sector debt $93.7 billion; Ext pub sect debt: 16.9% of GDP
* * Thx to sale of assets and debt recovery - no expectation of large deficit in fiscal 2018

* 85k bopd by 2020: Imbert forecasts

* Preliminary info: “CSO forecasts that real GDP could show a decline of 2.3% in 2017” – Minister Imbert

* Inflation down to 1.7% y/y, and food inflation 0.5% y/y

* Unemployment rate: 3.6%

* Annual inflows from energy sector dropped from US$3.2 billion in 2011 to US$500 million in 2017

* “Petrotrin only paid $200 million in royalties, a shortfall of $400 million contributing to the 2017 Deficit” - Minister Imbert

* TTEC owes NGC over $4 billion, which ultimately deprives our country of a dividend income.

* “TTEC does not pay NGC for gas that is used to generate electricity, although contractually obligated”- Minister Imbert

* “Petrotrin only paid $200mil in royalties, a shortfall of $400mil contributing to the 2017 Deficit”- Minister Imbert

* “unless we as a country change our taste for foreign goods, our xchge rate will continue to be under severe pressure”- Imbert

* Revenue from all sources in the energy sector has dropped from $28bn in 2014 to $9bn in 2017- Minister Imbert

* "Avg cost of govt housing unit constructed by HDC moved from $300000.00 to over $mil."

* "It is noteworthy that revenue from taxation dropped from a high of $51.6 bn in 2008 to $42.3 bn in 2015- Minister Imbert

* "This year alone Petrotrin was to pay $600 million in royalties to the state. Petrotrin only paid $200 million."

* “WASA receives an avg annual subsidy of over $2billion/yr… And struggles to pay its bills”

#TTBudget2018

* 2017 Outturn:

- - US$48.03/barrel of oil vs US$48 per barrel assumed assumed in last budget
- - US$2/mmbtu of gas vs US$2.25/mmbtu assumed in last budget

* Deficit target was of $6b, or 3.9% of GDP in fiscal 2017

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