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Customers wait in line at Sing Chong Supermarket on Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert says a mid-year budget review will be done in Parliament next month.

“I have received the final information with respect to the mid-year review which would be a supplementation of appropriation. I got that (Thursday), we are fine-tuning it now it will go to Cabinet in due course. Once Cabinet agrees we will schedule a sitting in the Parliament which would be in June for mid-year review and in addition to the mid-year review because sometimes there is some confusion with these things. We also have a Finance Bill 2021 which we are also scheduling to get into the Parliament in June,” he said.

Imbert said in that Finance Bill would be the matters that were discussed in the last budget such as tax exemptions and the liberalisation of the fuel market.

“With COVID and the State of Emergency things are not as easy as they should be. It is not so easy to schedule sittings of Parliament these days. The Opposition not even attending in some cases,” Imbert said.

Imbert made the statements during a virtual press conference held yesterday.

He said the net asset value of the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund (HSF) at May 14 was US$5.691 billion.

Imbert said when the People National’s Movement (PNM) entered office in September 2015, the HSF’s balance was US$5.655 billion.

“So we still have more money in the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund than there was in that fund when we won the election in September 2015,” he said.

“I make this point because there is a repeated falsity out there in the system that we have raided the fund and depleted the fund, all the money is gone, there is nothing left and the country going bankrupt and all that kind of thing. All nonsense,” he said.

The total withdrawals from the HSF between 2015 to now was US$2.1 billion, Imbert said.

“The Heritage Fund is still in excellent shape,” Imbert said.

Imbert denied claims that the Government has accessed and squandered US$18 billion in international funding.

“The total of funding internationally that has been accessed so far is US$200 million and not US$18 billion that the Opposition has been claiming,” he said.

He said all funding has been properly accounted for.