Fyzabad Chamber says Budget puts low-income earners in hardship


The 2022-2023 Na­tion­al Bud­get of­fers lit­tle hope for low-in­come earn­ers in par­tic­u­lar, is a con­cern be­ing ex­pressed by Ang­ie Jairam, the Pres­i­dent of Fyz­abad Cham­ber of Com­merce.

“For a large per­cent­age of our pop­u­la­tion—es­pe­cial­ly the low-in­come and no-in­come cit­i­zens—it would be a trem­bling feel­ing. There will be chal­lenges for the SMEs, as dis­pos­able in­comes will be re­duced,” Jairam said in a re­lease.

“The Cham­ber, there­fore, feels that more con­sid­er­a­tion should be giv­en to en­sure the wheels that turn eco­nom­ic growth be giv­en pri­or­i­ty,” she stat­ed.

Ac­cord­ing to Jairam, the trav­el­ling pub­lic will be bur­dened to pay more for gas with the in­crease in fu­el prices, not­ing this was “in ad­di­tion to the in­creased cost for main­te­nance of ve­hi­cles”.

“We see these as a hor­ri­fy­ing im­pact to the ex­is­tence of busi­ness,” Jairam said.  

“The Cham­ber is cu­ri­ous to see how the fund­ing will be dis­trib­uted to var­i­ous Gov­ern­ment Min­istries.  In the last few bud­gets, there was lit­tle or no com­mu­ni­ty de­vel­op­ment in and around the Fyz­abad com­mu­ni­ties. We are hop­ing to see some pos­i­tive changes,” the Fyz­abad Cham­ber pres­i­dent said.

“The Cham­ber calls on the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion to com­plete the con­struc­tion of the Rousil­lac Hin­du Pri­ma­ry School and re­move the chil­dren from the Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­tre where they have been housed for over 7 years,” Jairam de­mand­ed in the Cham­ber’s state­ment. “The road net­work in Fyz­abad has been de­plorable for years and ur­gent at­ten­tion is need­ed to ad­dress same. There­fore, the Cham­ber makes a call on the Min­istry of Works and Trans­port, or the Agency re­spon­si­ble for road­works, to en­sure that the fund­ing is al­lo­cat­ed for the nec­es­sary road re­pairs.”

She added: “The Cham­ber is hop­ing that some con­sid­er­a­tion be giv­en to ease the pres­sures and give some time for busi­ness to re­cov­er from the im­pact of COVID-19.”

The Cham­ber made the fol­low­ing con­tri­bu­tions to­wards dis­cus­sions on the Na­tion­al Bud­get 2022/2023:


1. Per­son­al In­come Tax Al­lowance… While we re­ceived an ap­prox­i­mate­ly 7.1% in­crease in In­come Tax Re­lief, this was off­set by the ap­prox­i­mate 16.7% in­crease in fu­el prices (Pre­mi­um and Su­per), there­by re­sult­ing in a 9.6% de­crease in Dis­pos­able In­come. The in­creased cost of Diesel will im­pact on goods and ser­vices re­sult­ing in a trick­le-down ef­fect on all con­sumers. With the in­creas­ing cost of liv­ing, the Gov­ern­ment has not ad­dressed those most vul­ner­a­ble with­in our so­ci­ety, who work on 2019 min­i­mum wage. Any NIS in­crease will cer­tain­ly de­crease the pur­chas­ing pow­er even fur­ther.


2. VAT Reg­is­tra­tion Thresh­old…  (i) In­crease of the Thresh­old min­i­mizes the ad­min­is­tra­tive bur­den on fil­ing VAT re­turns, etc. (ii) De­pend­ing on the in­dus­try that com­pa­nies op­er­ate with­in, be­ing non-VAT reg­is­tered may make a com­pa­ny seem un­at­trac­tive to the larg­er or­ga­ni­za­tions or state-owned en­ter­pris­es for pre­qual­i­fy­ing for ten­der pur­pos­es.


3. Elec­tron­ic Pay­ment Providers and e-Mon­ey Is­suers…  (i) As­sist dig­i­tal­ly with ease of do­ing busi­ness; (ii) Add to the safe­ty of em­ploy­ees and busi­ness­es


4. Re­vi­sion of the Pe­tro­le­um tax thresh­olds, en­cour­ages our up­stream oil and gas play­ers to in­crease in­vest­ment and by ex­ten­sion pro­duc­tion, and would have a trick­le-down ef­fect on our econ­o­my.


5. Whilst the Man­u­fac­tur­ing tax cred­it would en­cour­age in­vest­ment in lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing, it may be a fi­nan­cial bur­den to SMEs.


6. Ap­proved Small Com­pa­ny: Ex­emp­tion from Tax­a­tion. The FCOC feels that this should be af­ford­ed to all SME’s whether list­ed on the Stock Ex­change or not.


7. The FCOC would like to get clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the fi­nan­cial sup­port to SME’s, es­pe­cial­ly those who fall be­low the rev­enue thresh­old, as we be­lieve that these are the most vul­ner­a­ble com­pa­nies.


8. Whilst the School to Work Ap­pren­tice Al­lowance is a great ini­tia­tive; it should be ex­tend­ed to sole traders and part­ner­ships un­der the In­come Tax Act.


9. While we un­der­stand that the ad­min­is­tra­tive cost to op­er­ate this sys­tem (#8) would have in­creased due to lo­cal in­fla­tion, we feel that fines in re­la­tion to il­le­gal firearms should have in­creased much more. We do hope with the in­crease in FUL ad­min­is­tra­tion fees, the re­spec­tive Min­istry will ac­quire ad­e­quate fund­ing to ex­pe­dite the grant­i­ng of ex­ist­ing and new ap­pli­ca­tions based on the needs of the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty, es­pe­cial­ly due to the cur­rent crime sit­u­a­tion.


10. We ap­plaud the Gov­ern­ment for the Tax Amnesty to as­sist the SMEs in these times, as well as the re­lax­ation of re­stric­tions on GATE fund­ing, as we be­lieve the youths are our fu­ture.


11. Cur­rent­ly the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty with­in the SMEs has used ex­pen­sive for­eign ex­change mea­sures like cred­it card, Pay Pal, West­ern Union to sur­vive in the Trinidad and To­ba­go mar­ket. What has the Gov­ern­ment im­ple­ment­ed for a fair dis­tri­b­u­tion of for­eign cur­ren­cy to our SME busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty, as well as the en­er­gy sec­tor in­to the up­stream and down­stream pro­duc­ers?

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