ICT related aspects of the 2017 #Trinidad and #Tobago Budget Statement

Cover image of the Trinidad and Tobago Budget Statement 2017 document
Cover image of the Trinidad and Tobago Budget Statement 2017 document (via Ministry of Finance website)

The Minister of Finance, Honourable Colm Imbert presented the 2017 Budget Statement in the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament on September 30 2016.

The 2016 Budget Statement and related documents can be downloaded at http://www.finance.gov.tt/budget-statement-2017/

This post will focus on the ICT related aspects of the 2017 Budget Statement.

The ICT related aspects of the 2017 Budget Statement :

Page 22: under “Information and Communication Technology”

“Consistent with our manifesto commitment, we are
already rolling out free and easy access to broadband
internet in public spaces through the recentlyimplemented
TT WI-FI initiative. We are building a
knowledge-based and well-connected society as a
foundation for increasing productivity and for generating
sustainable growth and development. In fact, all WI-FI
enabled devices, including smartphones, laptops and
tablets, now have access on thirteen (13) specific Public
Transportation Service Corporation (PTSC) buses, twelve
(12) in Trinidad and one (1) in Tobago. And this is just the

Page 29: Under “Education”

Madam Speaker, the previous Administration introduced
a “Free Laptop Policy” for first year students in secondary
schools at an estimated cost of $310 million over a
four-year period. In our view, the programme brought
limited benefits because it was done in the absence
of an overarching ICT education policy and there was
inadequate ICT infrastructure in schools: limited access
to high speed Internet services, insufficient relevant
digital content, sparse training of teachers in ICT and no
management procedure for ICT projects and initiatives.
In light of this, a comprehensive ICT in Education Plan
will be rolled out in the next fiscal year. This 5-year plan
will ensure:
1. The establishment of an overarching ICT in
Education Policy;
2. Training and Professional development of teachers
and other educators;
3. Provision of adequate and appropriate ICT
infrastructure in schools;
4. Curriculum reform to include ICT-infused lesson
plans for students; and
5. Establishment of an ICT Steering Committee.

The new Plan will provide for laptops for each Form Level
at each secondary school; laptops will be used during
class sessions that require the use of ICT-related tasks
and will remain the property of the Ministry of Education.
Students writing CSEC and CAPE will soon benefit from
the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for those who
would like to use their own device for School Based
Assessments and other research projects while at school.

Page 45: Under “Tax on On-line Purchases”

Madam Speaker, the popularity of online purchases has
increased significantly over the past few years. Reducing
the demand for these items helps to save on foreign
exchange and to assist local industry. There are 31
Courier Companies registered and bonded in Trinidad
and Tobago and is estimated that the value of packages
cleared by these Courier Companies exceeds $1 billion
a year.
Madam Speaker, as I announced previously I intend to
impose with effect from October 20, 2016, a 7 percent
charge on purchases that arrive in Trinidad and Tobago
through the courier companies or are brought in directly
by individuals via air freight. This measure will generate
approximately $70 million in additional revenue. The
tax will be due and payable at the bonded warehouses
before clearance of goods or directly to customs in
the same way that VAT and customs duty are currently
To assist in the implementation of this measure the
Government will ensure that the Customs and Excise
Division is provided with the resources necessary to
strengthen their capability to inspect and assess packages
generally and specifically from Courier Companies.