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 Commentary: A Pigtail Budget

Commentary: A Pigtail Budget

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By Neil Gosine

Government intends to tax citizens until they die and collect billions in taxes in 2022.

According to the Draft Estimates of Revenue from the national budget document presented by Minister of Finance Colm Imbert, his plan is to strengthen the tax collection agencies where he expects to increase its revenue collection drive in the new year 2022.

But he must do this with the care and consideration of the fact that the country is still going through a harsh period of difficulty.

Total taxes that Mr Imbert intends to collect from an already stressed out population are estimated at $31.8 billion.

Twenty billion dollars is projected to come from taxes on profit and income broken down as follows:

  • $8.7 billion from taxes on goods and services;
  • $101 million from taxes on property;
  • $300 million from other taxes (not explained); and
  • $2.6 billion from taxes on international trade.

What international trade? Only the Lord alone knows.


The Government is hell bent to collect $101 million from property tax no matter the cost to citizens and the hardships they have endured during the Covid-19 pandemic – the lost of jobs for many citizens, the rising food prices by 50% in the last year alone at the groceries, and the anxieties and pressures we are experiencing coping with trying to provide for our families.

We all have been lockdown for almost two years where it’s estimated that more than 100,000 citizens are now unemployed losing their jobs over the last two years. This while the minister has stated that he has given $1,500 and even $150 grants but many citizens are scratching their heads, never seeing hide nor hair of these grants that he boasted about.

In fact, many citizens are still waiting for these grants. What we have heard is that some people were given grants twice while the majority of the population in dire need of the grants were not given due to the mishandling of the distribution process by the ministry.

Can you imagine in the middle of a pandemic when everyone is suffering, the Government intends to bring back the property tax. This has been described as an unprecedented event in our history.

Yet this Government continues to turn a deaf ear on the crises of our population by our business owners, by the middle class and the low income earners. It looks like a battle against the working class and a warfare on our most vulnerable people in our country.

The minister is only looking at ways to tax the population by already signaling that increases rates in utilities as water and electricity hikes are coming too. He has signalled that the removal of subsidies on WASA and T&TEC rates will be coming soon.

People are already on the brink of disaster but if this is implemented in these times, even more people will be pushed into poverty.

As we know this has a domino effect. Once homeowners and proprietors have to pay increased taxes, rents for the low income renters and renters on a whole will increase, transportation cost has already increased tremendously after the shutting down of Petrotrin and the cost of fuel.

This has had a general impact on the cost of living for everyone and in spite of the removal of taxes on electronic devices and computers we know that parents have increased cost of wifi connectivity and huge expenses for virtually learning by providing an adequate home environment equipped to accommodate their children.

They have to provide proper desks, chairs and three meals a day for their children that are all additional expenses parents have to face during this time. This burden just puts undue pressures and stresses on an already overtaxed population.

We all woke up on Monday hoping for real solutions to counteract the downturn in the economy and for a budget to bring relieve for our citizens, instead we got a “pigtail budget” with nothing really inside of it. Only window dressings but with no real relief that only wants to tax us to death.

This is unfair, unreasonable, unimaginative, unproductive and heartless.

(Neil Gosine is an insurance executive, the North East Regional Coordinator of the United National Congress and a former chairman of NP. The comments and opinions expressed by him in this column are not necessarily those of, a division of Complete Image Limited.)


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