Trinidad and Tobago announced its new budget earlier this fall, and it contains multiple provisions focused on the private sector. The island government has been facing lower incoming revenues over the past two years given the drop in oil and commodity prices, and it hopes to shore up some of the difference by including the business world in public projects.
It will primarily look to public/private partnerships to drive increased investment in infrastructure and development without committing as much of its budget to such ventures over the next few years.
The benefits for companies come in a plan to “provide 50% tax relief and other appropriate fiscal incentives to businesses, which can mobilize private sector funding to provide public infrastructure and/or public facilities, amenities and services, now provided solely by the government,” according to the budget statement.
In addition to infrastructure and development, more areas may be included. The details are expected to be fully flushed out next year. “The government will also consider extending these benefits to projects that increase productivity and create employment, with full details of the scheme to be released shortly, allowing for it to come into force in the first half of next year,” according to a report by the Oxford Business Group.
Other opportunities for companies may be found in the Trinidad and Tobago government’s plans to privatize some of its assets. Its goal is to fill the hole from lower energy sector revenue, and unloading a few holdings will be a quick way to ensure the budget is in better shape for the next few years.
Possible divestments are expected to include First Citizens Holdings (a financial company) and T&T NGL (the national gas company), which together with some other industrial selloffs could bring in more than $600 million USD.
Photo Credit: Mariordo (Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz)