Franka Costelloe


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The T&T Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) says is it is pleased that Finance Minister Colm Imbert intends to privatise some State enterprises, saying this has been “a primary lobbying” issue by the association.

“The proposed privatisation of ports and the new personal income ceiling reflects Government is listening and responsive to recommendations from the business community,” TTMA President Franka Costelloe said in a statement yesterday.

She said the TTMA however, is cautious on the issue of tax waivers on imported building materials, saying it is seeking clarity on how this impacts manufacturer of local building materials.

Costelloe also noted the minister’s intention to improve the ease of doing business through the implementation of building an “e-Government” will provide the foundation for transformation to allow manufacturing to thrive. “However, we are cognizant that what is measured gets done and so are relieved to hear the minister’s intention to

track and report on progress of this digital transformation,”Costelloe said.

She said Government’s announcement of the enhancement of the junior stock exchange with a five year tax exemption and a 50 per cent reduction in the tax rate for the following five years, mirrors the TTMA’s focus in its manufacturing strategy on a business environment that is conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Supply chain management and costs are central to the manufacturing process. It is our hope that the prioritization of the agro-processing industry in 2021 will provide the local raw materials needed in the manufacturing process, thereby reducing the $4 billion import bill and create niche entrepreneurs,”Costelloe added.

She said the TTMA has been advocating for a more efficient VAT Refund system, consistent with provisions within the law and financial regulations, adding that the TTMA looks forward to its implementation through the TTRA.

Costelloe said the TTMA was also please that the increased allowable rate on wear

and tear on equipment from 25 per cent to 30 per cent was also implemented, noting this was also recommendation by the TTMA to improve cash flows.

“Specific to support for SMEs, the TTMA recommended a renewed allocation of $100M US to manufacturers annually and the enhancement of capital markets through private equity and exit mechanisms, as well as tax credit to businesses investing in technology and software implementation.

“The Government has responded by speaking to the further expansion and growth of EXIM Bank geared towards providing enhanced assistance to the business community,”Costelloe said.

She noted the call for Eteck to be a facilitator to manufacturers of niche products is of particular interest as the TTMA has advocated for the ratification of lease rates and planned upgrades to facilities at industrial parks.