Corporate TT incentive to invest…

THE increased tax allowance from $3m to $6m for corporate sponsorship of national sporting activities should inspire medium and larger organisations to give consideration for greater financial contributions toward the development of our local sportsmen and women.

So says president of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC), Brian Lewis, following the National Budget presentation by Finance Minister, Colm Imbert, yesterday.

“I propose to increase the tax allowance to from $3m to $6m for the corporate sponsorship of nationals in the local fashion industry; audio, visual and video productions for the purpose of local education and well as for companies which sponsor sporting activities or events or sportsmen or art and culture. This measure will take effect from January 1, 2020,” the minister revealed.

In response, Lewis believes this boost may encourage larger companies to increase their investment in sport and have a more meaningful impact on their taxable profit.

“The initial reaction to the budget is that there is reason to be positive,” stated Lewis. “Especially as we’re heading into an Olympic year and with the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2021, the increase provides an opportunity for bigger corporate entities in TT to have some renewed conversations with sporting organisations. In terms of the smaller companies, it will be interesting to see how they embrace it.”

The TTOC boss admitted he is pleased with the athlete-reward and incentive policies thus far and now awaits a draft estimate from the Ministry of Sport and local sporting institutions, on what specific allocations have already been made ahead of the Olympic year. He, however, remains quietly confident that once the allocations have been made, the relevant entities responsible for delivering on those matters, will do so in a timely manner.

During Imbert’s presentation, he acknowledged the stalwart contributions of all national athletes who recently represented TT at the Pan American Games, Pan American Championships and the recently concluded IAAF World Championships, in Doha,Qatar. He openly recognised that our performances have extended over a larger number of disciplines such as cycling, aquatics, athletics, sailing and boxing. However, due to the extension of our elite involvement in newer sporting disciplines, Imbert believes the refurbishment of national sporting facilities is pivotal to breeding success and addressing social issues social issues such as high crime levels, drug abuse, youth offences, educational underachievement and lack of social inclusion.

“We are combating these issues at community levels,” Imbert said. “Laventille community swimming pool is meeting the demand for aquatic sport in a major underprivileged community. Other swimming pools are being upgraded at Cocoyea, Couva and Sangre Grande. The Diego Martin Sporting Complex, a multi-purpose, multi-sport facility, is already being used by the surrounding communities, clubs and associations. The Dwight Yorke Stadium (Tobago) is now a well-equipped facility meeting international standards. Other stadia, like Mahaica Oval, are being rehabilitated and would be ready to meet the needs of all athletes and the general public for recreational and competitive sport purposes.”

Imbert added that Skinner Park in San Fernando is being redeveloped to the tune of $200m. This major upgrade is being done so that the southern facility would have the capacity to host large sporting and cultural events with more sophisticated facilities for athletes and modern conveniences for the public.

“Recreational activities such as football, cricket, basketball and netball are being upgraded in Grand Riviere, Aranguez, Paramin, Park Street, Pascall and Todds Road, Bourg Mulatresse, North Eartern Recreational Ground and Marac.

“Regional sporting arenas in Maloney, Mayaro, Central and South are also being improved. Residential and non-residential youth facilities are being refurbished at California, Malick, Woodbrook, Chatam, Persto Praesto (Freeport), Sevilla and Caroni sport facilities are also being refurbished,” Imbert continued. Following this revelation, Lewis was pleased with these welcomed upgrades and was optimistic that they would provide a platform of growth for local sportsmen and women.

“We welcome these enhancements and currently look forward to hosting the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2021, the Pan American Aquatic Championships in 2022. These facilities will provide an avenue to showcase the talent of our young citizens,” Lewis concluded.