«Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011-2014 Ministry of Planning and the Economy October 2011 Table of Contents PREFACE BY THE MINISTER OF PLANNING AND ...»
Another initiative taken by the previous administration, the Cove Eco-Industrial Estate and Business Park in Tobago, will be supported and pursued. The Park, which is currently under construction, will also provide Tobago with opportunities in the area of eco-industrialisation as a means of diversifying the island’s economy from being primarily dependent on Tourism.
The Eco-Industrial Development Company (E-IDCOT), an agency of the Tobago House of Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 64 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 Assembly (THA), is to manage the Estate as part of its mandate to assist in the economic diversification of the economy of Tobago. The sophisticated infrastructure will ensure that businesses have excellent access to connectivity, security, reliability and convenience. It is envisaged that the two (2) Parks will become home to major technology players and the place where innovative ideas emerge.
Strategy: Develop New Growth Centres Across the Country – Geographical and Industry Diversification
These five (5) growth poles together with Cove Estate in Tobago, Tamana Intech Park, Invaders Bay, Chaguaramas and the City Centre in Port of Spain all targeted for development over the next three years will make a decisive impact on investment, construction, infrastructure development, jobs, growth and development in a diverse range of sectors. This will impact on the uneven development of the country and on some of the inequities in the society and give the private sector opportunities for investment and space for growth.
To promote innovation as the driving force for global competitiveness and economic sustainability, a National Innovation Policy (NIP) will outline the direction of the Government in creating this enabling environment. This policy will be developed by the Ministry of Planning and the Economy (MPE) with the support the Economic Development Board (EDB) and will result in the establishment of an Innovation System that comprises the supporting mechanisms for financing, intellectual property protection and linkages between research and development and commercialisation.
The NIP will place increased focus on small and micro entrepreneurial activity, which has the potential to contribute significantly to job creation, economic growth and social development.
Government will move to re-align the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Sector (MSE) with the aim of expanding the country’s entrepreneurial capability. Expansion of the Sector is part of an overall Competitive Business Sector Strategy.
The National Business Incubation Policy and the National Integrated Business Incubator System will provide a comprehensive nurturing environment that utilises best practice to support the development of new entrepreneurs and innovative MSEs. This Policy will enhance the link between entrepreneurship and MSE development, supporting and encouraging the entrepreneur to transform ideas into high-value products and services. The Fair Share Programme provides an opportunity for MSE growth as it allows for 10 per cent of Government contracts to be awarded to qualified MSEs and encourages large private contractors to sub-contract to MSEs.
Creativity in larger, export oriented business leading to innovation will be encouraged and supported. An Innovation Fund has been established to link research and knowledge applications to small firms and individuals. And the larger firms in the business community will be approached to develop together with Government a Research and Innovation Fund.
Strategy: Revitalise the Traditional Sectors and Promote Viable Clusters The successful diversification of the economy depends on developing sector niches that offer opportunities to create value and develop businesses that have strong long term growth prospects. There is scope in the traditional sectors - Agriculture, Tourism and Manufacturing to find such niches and to build viable clusters with emerging sectors if linkages are strengthened and export opportunities are seized. The strategy of Government is to promote diversification Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 68 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 within these sectors by deepening the production base to create goods and services of higher value and with export potential. Cluster development internally among these sectors and regionally with resource-rich neighbouring countries will be promoted and pursued.
Emphasis will be placed on specialised skills training and development to encourage competitiveness and sustainability within the Sector. The development and adoption of green manufacturing practices will give local manufacturing firms a competitive edge given the emphasis on creating a green economy.
Cluster development aids the progress of the Sector. The Tamana Intech Park and the Cove Business Park will provide high-value manufacturers with a competitive advantage in highquality infrastructure and business to business opportunities.
The following areas have been identified for diversification within the sector: biotechnology, information technology, high-tech manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, food production and agroprocessing and ship building, repair and servicing. In addition to these areas, significant work has already taken place in the area of Printing and Packaging. A proposal for the establishment of a printing and packaging Institute has been completed. Work will continue on a development programme for the Food and Beverage Industry which aims to increase innovation and commercialisation.
In addition, the following measures will be instituted:
• A programme of incentives to support sustained export expansion
Strategy: Move up the Value Chain in Energy Shifting the country’s reliance on energy resources to other productive sectors in the economy is essential. This notwithstanding, Government recognises that there is tremendous potential for growth within the Sector by shifting from the reliance on mostly upstream and midstream activities to more productive and efficient downstream activities. It also involves penetrating new markets regionally and internationally.
Efforts to increase our proven energy reserves through the opening up of more blocks for bidding has led to the award of contracts to firms engaging in both onshore and offshore operations. Increasing our downstream products and markets will continue to enhance our value-added capacity. Government is also exploring ways to diversify within the sector with a specific focus on expanding the energy services component and exploring alternative energy
sources. Some of the specific initiatives to support diversification of this sector include:
• The promotion of energy services exports Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 70 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014
• A Bitumen Upgrader Complex
• An Ammonia-Urea-Melamine Complex
• Carisal Project
• Methanol to Polypropylene Project
• Methanol to Acetic Acid Project
• Small Scale LNG
• The development of an energy services cluster off Galeota (Galeota Port Initiative) Developing alternative energy sources will benefit the economy through achieving greater diversification and stability and will also ensure energy security for the country in the long term as oil and gas resources are depleted. Energy services employ a large percentage of the Sector’s workforce.
With over 100 years accumulated experience and expertise in the sector, there is tremendous scope for nationals to fill the international skills gap that currently exists in other established and newly emerging energy producing countries.
As the world seeks to find alternative energy sources that are less detrimental to the environment, investment in the renewable energy market has been identified as an option for lucrative exploration. The development of a Renewable Energy Policy will expand the country’s energy mix into alternative energy sources such as solar, biomass and wind energy and encourage investment and partnership opportunities with companies that engage in or use renewable energy alternatives.
A Carbon Reduction Strategy Task Force has been established and mandated with the responsibility to develop a National Carbon Reduction Strategy and a regulatory and policy environment and to recommend suitable projects and incentives to attract investment. Promoting energy efficiency in both the public and private sectors through energy audits will increase our environmental responsibility.
Critical to the success of this sub-sector is the creation of a supporting environment that features a strong legislative framework, investment incentives for both producers and consumers and a skilled workforce. Government is committed to creating the facilitating environment necessary to propel this Sub-sector’s revenue earning capabilities and has identified the transportation and electricity generation sectors as areas for future development of renewable energy technology.
Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 71 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 Strategy: Increase Foreign and Domestic Investment Government is placing considerable emphasis on improving the investment environment in an attempt to attract both local and foreign investors. The Investment Policy 2011-2015 will prescribe the legislative changes necessary to improve the institutional and regulatory framework for investment. These changes will inform the drafting of a new piece of legislation – an Investment Promotion Act, will be geared towards facilitating the growth and expansion of foreign as well as, domestic investment in Trinidad and Tobago. The policy will identify challenges to investment promotion and recommend strategies to target investors. With the expected improvement in the availability of data, the Investment Policy will track the performance of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows; the growth of domestic investment;
identify the factors that make this environment more favourable to potential and existing investors as well as introduce new policy approaches and strategies identified to facilitate investment. Initiatives such as the Government Hotel Infrastructure Loan Guarantee Programme will be geared towards attracting investment flows into the tourism sector.
Government will also restructure the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre Management Company Limited (TTIFCMCL) as part of an improved institutional structure designed to create a new thrust in investment facilitation. The Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Council for Competiveness and Innovation (CCI) will also collaborate to improve global competitiveness and to support an investment strategy for diversification. The role of eTeck in this configuration will also be taken into account. A Secretariat to support investment decision making will be established to facilitate the flow of investment recommendations to the Ministerial Council for the Economy and the Innovation System and to facilitate coordination and streamlining of investment projects to support decision making.
Strategy: Create a Modern and Efficient Economic Infrastructure Base Information and Communication Technology (Network) The creation of an ICT-based knowledge economy in Trinidad and Tobago is a priority of this Government. ICT and the systems that they can create are fundamental to the Nation’s development and Government remains committed to the efficient and effective use of ICT within all sectors of the economy, which is a key requirement to link Trinidad and Tobago to an increasingly integrating information society.
A critical element for the building of a knowledge-based economy is widespread access to affordable high-speed broadband services throughout the country. The implementation of a national broadband strategy will involve a public-private partnership (PPP) approach, the Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 72 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 deployment of incentives aimed at encouraging foreign and domestic investment and the utilisation of Universal Service funding for access to ‘build-out’ in uneconomic or underserved areas.
Government is also committed to the strengthening of the legislative framework for the ICT sector, with a view towards ensuring regulatory oversight of competition issues. The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) will continue to review and revise the regulatory framework to facilitate the stimulation of investment opportunities in the sector, particularly infrastructure development.
The National Information and Communication Technology Company Limited (iGovTT), is the central ICT agency of the Government and will continue with the implementation of the National ICT Strategy. There are several enterprise solutions under the Government Backbone Communications Network, (GovNeTT) and the Government Electronic Portal, (ttconnect) that are geared towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Government’s service delivery. These will be rationalised, integrated, connected and made functional.
In terms of integrating internet-enabled education throughout the school system, one of the initial steps taken to achieve this objective is the roll out of the eCAL project. Other initiatives to be undertaken include expansion of secondary schools’ connectivity, teacher training and infusion of ICT into curriculum delivery.
The Single Electronic Window (SEW), a project overseen by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), is an IT-based trade facilitation tool which allows parties to lodge standardised information and documents at a single entry point, in order to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements. The first phase of the SEW, dubbed TTBizlink, was launched in February 2011. Three (3) business services are being offered via TTBizlink – application for import duty concessions, fiscal incentives and work permits.
Government will promote the following:
• The use of IT in Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSEs)
• Increased broadband coverage and affordable video conferencing
• Wider ICT coverage for citizens at lower costs
• Replacement of the electoral identification with an e-Citizen card, which will result in more efficient delivery of Government services to the people