Minister of Finance Colm Imbert responding to questions in Senate on Wednesday.

Government is doing away with foreign insurance companies and once the Insurance bill act is proclaimed in two months, such companies will have to incorporate themselves and register a T&T company, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said on Wednesday.

Piloting the Insurance amendment bill in the Senate, he said foreign companies will have to operate with T&T branches. He said they’d be forced by law to shift and Government would force them to transfer assets here and have a new entity.

Also under the bill, people who are not in the insurance industry won’t be allowed to represent themselves as such. He said the insurance industry’s assets of combined life and pension values represent $99 billion—50 per cent of T&T’s Gross Domestic Product.

Imbert also said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was in T&T as part of a project requested by his ministry and the Central Bank to examine the insurance sector, banks, Unit Trust Corporation and other financial services to identify strengths and weaknesses so that Government could take any necessary action on issues.

On another issue, Imbert said steps were being taken by Government to address the European Union’s placement of T&T on a list of high-risk countries.

Imbert said barring unforeseen circumstances, he was reasonably confident T&T would meet the EU’s requirements to exit the high-risk list. He said Government had worked expeditiously to ensure all deficiencies were addressed.

T&T also underwent examination by the Financial Action Task Force last month and the Attorney General will attend FATF next week to receive the outcomes of this assessment.

Imbert also said Tax Package Bills would be imminently debated in the Parliament. The Government has been engaged with the EU Ambassador and EU representatives in Brussels concerning technical assistance on the matter.