Finance Minister Colm Imbert. Photo: T&T Parliament
FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert is appealing to all members of Parliament for support for the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority Bill.
He said this was much needed at this time given the strain on the State’s treasury.
Imbert made the comment in the Senate on Tuesday in piloting the second reading of the bill that seeks to establish the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority to replace the Board of Inland Revenue and the Customs and Excise Division.
The bill’s history goes back 11 years and four different Parliamentary attempts to have it passed.
He said, “We hope and pray that this bill will find favour with the majority of members in this Senate as it has in the past.”
It would be inconsistent with sections 4 and 5 of the Constitution and is therefore required a special majority of three-fifths of the members of each House to be passed.
The Opposition has clearly stated that it will not support such a Bill.
Imbert said, “This is really needed at this point in time with our very difficult revenue situation and the call on the Treasury for unprecedented expenditure on the health sector in terms of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and other calls on the Treasury in terms of providing financial assistance to those affected and so on.
He continued, “I don’t think we can continue in our current situation, I think that is well recognised by the majority of rational people. We cannot continue with our highly grossly and inefficient system which lends itself to interference and lends itself to a culture of tax avoidance and punishes those members of the Trinidad and Tobago population who are conscientious, who pay their taxes and who comply with the customs laws.”