The 2022 budget does not benefit the poor
Kaviana Siew Rampersad
Some members of the public believe that the 2022 budget is not benefiting the poor.
Newsday took to the streets of Port of Spain to ask the public what they think of the budget read to Parliament by Finance Minister Colm Imbert on Monday.
Store owner Richard Blades said it was no different from previous budgets because it didn’t help the poor.
“All the money the government has allocated to different areas is not benefiting the poor. Whether you apply and do the right thing or try to qualify for grants, you won’t make it, ”he said.
He said the downside to removing VAT on items was that conglomerates would increase the prices of other items to make up for the loss.
He felt that the $ 50 million allocated to Tobago was not enough for the hospitality and tourism sector.
“It sounds like enough, but it’s not enough money for a fiscal year,” he said.
He said covid19 disrupted the lives of many people and money should have been pumped into small businesses to help them grow.
“The government has not implemented anything for the benefit of the poor. Are taxes higher, taxi fares going up, food prices out of control. You don’t get a raise, everything goes up, ”he said.
He said there was no balance.
A store owner who requested anonymity said millions of dollars are going to different sectors and the poor are suffering.
“Some people don’t have books for school and computers at home for their children to learn,” he said.
He expressed his relief that education and training received the greatest allowance.
“Children are the future,” he said.
The owner of the phone shop, Oshana Campbell, has expressed concern over the rising cost of living during the pandemic.
She said removing VAT on some basic items is, in her opinion, half an effort on the part of the government, as VAT still remains on more important items such as flour, rice and sugar.
She said that as a Tobagonian, she thinks Tobago still has the end of the stick.
“Whatever crumbs are left after budgeting and allocating funds everywhere else, $ 50 million for tourism and hospitality in Tobago is not enough,” she said.
She agrees that the local online market is a good government initiative to help people.
“During the pandemic, we learned that having an online store was a plus, as it made everything easy,” she said.
She is skeptical of the digital ID plan that will be launched in 2022 because she sees it as a way for the government to track citizens.
Newsday also spoke to Annie Mohan, who said removing VAT on basic items made no sense to her.
“These items like sausages, canned goods and mats are not good for you, but at the end of the day it’s still food,” she said.
She said she was happy with the Tobago tourism allowance as she owns a tourism store in Port of Spain.
“From Tobago, tourists come to Trinidad for the carnival and it is a means of income,” she said.
She said small businesses are hurting and people are restructuring their businesses to make ends meet.
“Now I have to start selling masks and other items other than souvenirs,” she said.