The Government has recorded a $4 billion surplus for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013/2014, instead of the $708 million deficit that it had anticipated.
In a release yesterday from Minister of Finance Larry Howai, Trinidad and Tobago’s actual revenue between October 1 and December 31, 2013 amounted to $15.449 billion, whereas budgeted revenue was $12.551 billion, or $2.898 billion above expected.
Expenditure amounted to $11.299 billion, or $1.96 billion less than the $13.259 billion that had been budgeted.
Preliminary revenue figures have exceeded budget estimates by approximately 23.1 per cent. This was primarily due to higher than anticipated receipts from, among others, taxes on goods and services (2.1 per cent); international trade (17.4 per cent); other taxes (23.8 per cent); and non-tax revenue (212.3 per cent), the release said.
Preliminary expenditure figures over the period fell below budget projections by 14.8 per cent. This was primarily due to reductions in Government’s expenditure on other goods and services, current transfers and subsidies by 34.6 per cent, 5.9 per cent and 48.4 per cent, respectively.
The ministry also acknowledged the constraints in the local foreign exchange market.
“Since December 2013, comments have been made regarding the inability of the public to easily obtain US currency in the local foreign exchange market. This has been a result of higher seasonal demand and lower levels of foreign exchange conversions from the energy sector.
“Sales to the public during the period December 2013—January 30, 2014 by authorised dealers amounted to US$1.1 billion, which outstripped purchases from the energy sector by over US$280 million.
“The Central Bank intervened in the market, selling US$40m and US$160m to authorised dealers in December 2013 and January 2014, respectively. Further injections were made last (week) to alleviate the shortfall. Trinidad and Tobago continues to have strong Gross Official reserves, which amounted to over US$9.9 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013 or 12 months of import cover,” Howai said.