The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) was established by Act Number 37 of 1980. This Act also established the Tobago House of Assembly Fund into which all monies appropriated by Parliament as well as monies collected by the Assembly in respect of fees and charges imposed by it under its bye-laws were to be deposited. The Budget Department commenced operations in March of 1982, and the role of the Department assumed greater significance and proportion over time, particularly with the proclamation of Act Number 40 of 1996.
The primary responsibility of the Budget Department is the preparation of budget estimates and management of funding appropriated by Parliament. The Department also ensures that funding appropriated by Parliament and the THA is released to the Divisions of the Assembly in a timely manner. Officers in the Department monitor monthly expenditure from Divisions and reports to the Ministry of Finance and the Assembly Legislature; collates the Annual Draft Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure to provide for the functions of the Assembly; monitors and reports to the Ministry of Finance on the Assembly’s revenue collection; and, identifies and examines proposals for new sources of revenue collection, making recommendations accordingly.
Planning for Tobago’s expenditure commences in March of the preceding financial year, with the issuing of the Call Circular Memorandum to all Divisions. The submissions are then consolidated, laid in the Assembly Legislature, debated and submitted to Central Government where it is included in the country’s annual Budget and laid in Parliament
The Budget Process
- Official correspondence in the form of a Call Circular from the Secretary of Finance and the Economy is issued to all Secretaries, the Chief Administrator, Administrators, and the Clerk of the Assembly. This Circular provides all guidelines for the preparation and submission of the Draft Estimate of the Assembly with a deadline date for submission.
- Draft Estimates are prepared and submitted by all Divisions of the Assembly to the Budgets Department at the Division of Finance and the Economy.
- The Draft Estimates are verified and compiled into one document for the Assembly Legislature.
- This document is laid in the Assembly Legislature, and debated, allowing sufficient time to ensure delivery to Cabinet by the statutory deadline of June 30th each year.
- Copies of the documents are also sent to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning and Development for consideration and inclusion in the National Budget of Trinidad and Tobago. The appropriation to the THA should not be less than the minimum limit as approved by the Dispute Resolution Commission which is 4.03% of the National Budget.
- The Appropriation Bill is laid in Parliament, debated, and when passed becomes the approved Estimates for the relevant fiscal year.
Level 3, Victor E. Bruce Financial Complex
6-10 Post Office Street, Scarborough – 900212, Tobago
Tel: (868) 639-4412 ext. 54101
Fax: 639-4412 ext.56700