FISCAL CONSOLIDATION AND ECONOMIC STABILISATION
Against all odds, the PNM has stabilized the economy and set it on a growth path, maintained good credit ratings, and averted the financial crisis we met in 2015. We have done more with less; reduced Government’s annual expenditure by 20% from $63B in 2014 to $50B in 2017; increased revenue by $10B; eliminated waste and corruption; while maintaining jobs, pensions, social welfare payments, health care, infrastructure, education, security, public utilities and all Government services.
The PNM has so far recovered $15B of taxpayers’ money from Clico, including cash and shares in companies such as Republic Bank and Angostura, among others. Work continues to recover a further $10B from Clico and CLF.
NATIONAL INVESTMENT FUND
The PNM has issued $4B in National Investment Fund Bonds to over 7,000 citizens, with generous interest rates backed by assets recovered from Clico, thus preserving these assets for the benefit of future generations.
VAT RATE REDUCTION
The PNM reduced the rate of Value Added Tax from 15% to 12.5% to lower the cost of living and provide relief to consumers.
INCREASE IN PERSONAL INCOME TAX ALLOWANCE
The PNM increased the annual Personal Income Tax Allowance from $60,000 to $72,000, allowing all taxpayers earning $6,000 per month or less to be exempt from tax.
INCREASED CAP ON PENSIONS
The PNM increased in the cap on the pension payments for persons in receipt of both the NIS pension and the Senior Citizen’s Pension from $4,500 to $6,000, thus putting up to $1,500 per month in the hands of those who need it most.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVENUE AUTHORITY
The PNM has completed all of the required preparatory work to establish a modern autonomous Revenue Authority, geared towards improving taxpayer compliance and minimizing revenue leakage. The TTRA is designed to provide a significant increase in revenue collection to any Administration in Government, in the billions of dollars. This is awaiting Parliamentary approval since it requires a special majority.
SALES OF ASSETS & PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF STATE ENTERPRISES
Consistent with its policy of the widest possible public participation in the ownership of key state enterprises, the PNM offered and sold shares through transparent public offerings in TTNLGL and First Citizens to the public. In both cases there are good dividends and significant capital appreciation.
The Office of the Procurement Regulator is now fully staffed and has established a comprehensive database on procurement. Capacity building continues apace to establish the required procurement units in ministries and state agencies to implement the Public Procurement Act. After considerable dialogue with the Regulator, the Regulations necessary to operationalize the Act have been finalized and will be enacted early in our next Term.
PERSONAL ALLOWANCE AT AIRPORTS
The PNM increased the Allowance for Personal Goods at airports from $3,000 to $5,000.