#Grand Turk, May 5, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The biggest budget in Turks and Caicos Islands history is now passed into law. Members present in the House of Assembly very, very late on Friday night unanimously voted for the fiscal proposal to be accepted at precisely two minutes before midnight on May 3, 2019.
The Budget for 2019-2020 sets the wheels in motion for the new financial year to formally begin; and it is expected to be a banner year for business development.
“Mr. Speaker, not only must we reduce the cost of living in the TCI but we must also reduce the cost of doing business. Potential investors sometimes find it difficult to invest in countries because of the obstacles of setting up businesses.”
A major announcement from the Minister of Finance Investment and Trade, Premier Hon Sharlene Robinson was a loan guarantee plan for the development of local business.
A survey spanning all of the islands will be undertaken, said the Premier, in order for information gathered to inform any coming policy on a government guaranteed loan program.
“Mr. Speaker research on the feasibility of a Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme continues. In this regard, some may say we ought not interfere in the market; rather we should allow market forces to interplay; but whilst this Government would want the market to recognize this missing market function and be able to adequately identify opportunities geared at ameliorating the much talked about ‘lack of access to finance or businesses’, addressing the challenge requires a systems approach.”
A Country Poverty Assessment will be complete in six months, said Premier Robinson when she presented the Budget on May Day (May 1). It will guide a strategy of the PDM Administration aimed at making living more affordable and services offered by government more cost-effective.
Premier, Hon Sharlene Robinson explained that the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises or COSME program which the Turks and Caicos benefited from through the European Union was a valued experience. In a follow-up to the lessons learned through the EU-funded program the TCIG has already “commenced work on and have produced the first draft of a National Concessions Policy aimed at stimulating the growth of the business sector in particular SMEs.”
Other initiatives announced to support business development were an Investment Policy, a Concessions Policy and changes to the MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise) Program which is managed by the Invest Turks and Caicos Agency.