Positive outlook for T&T’s economy
Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry challenged the business sector to participate in the growth and development process of our country at the Trinidad and Tobago Business Chamber, Business Outlook 2018/2019 Breakfast Meeting on Wednesday 28 June, 2018.
Referring to the positive outlook on the local economy, Minister Gopee-Scoon said “As you can see the economy is starting to turn around. The statistics speak for themselves! The IMF, Standard and Poor’s and the Ministry of Finance have all forecast positive rates of economic growth in Trinidad and Tobago in 2018”. The economic and prevailing conditions supported by the facilitative environment of the Government provide a unique opportunity for business expansion.
Minister Gopee-Scoon cited strategic interventions currently being implemented to improve the ease of doing business; development of economic spaces at Phoenix Park and Moruga among others; increasing market access; improving access to finance for Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers; as well as initiatives in the maritime and creative sectors.
The Trade and Industry Minister also affirmed the Government’s commitment to provide the enabling environment, incentives and programmes required to stimulate the economy. She said “The Government will continue to be the facilitator for increased business and investment opportunities; however, we cannot do it alone. I urge you to be prepared to assume greater risks and take advantage of the facilities being provided to grow your businesses”. She urged business persons and entrepreneurs to access the underutilised Grant Fund Facility for small and medium-sized manufacturers which provides financing up to a maximum of TT250,000 for the acquisition of machinery and equipment for production of export-oriented/ import-substituting products. She also made a call for greater use of the enhanced Research and Development Facility (RDF) which offers tiered funding for capacity-building and innovation of products and services in the non-energy sector, up to a maximum of TT$1 Mn per beneficiary.
Mr Gerry Brooks, Chairman of the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago provided a comprehensive review of the economy and the existing and future business opportunities in the energy sector. Mr Brooks indicated that “the improvement being made in the energy sector is as a result of hard work thoughtful collaborative and sometimes forthright engagement, government support and a determination to reengineer and redefine the architecture of Trinidad and Tobago”. Mr Brooks also joined Minister Gopee-Scoon in calling for “transformative change” in growing the economy. He said “Dare to be transformative, remaining safe and depending on the state, must change. You must become more export oriented and leverage the work of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other agencies to secure a brighter future”.
Mr Ronald Hinds, President, TT Chamber in welcoming the attendees, acknowledged the pivotal role the business community plays in the growth and transformation of the economy. He urged members to determine how their businesses can impact the outlook of the business environment.
The event concluded with a panel discussion including private sector and government representatives and several entrepreneurs who have successfully manoeuvred and expanded their businesses.