«Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011-2014 Ministry of Planning and the Economy October 2011 Table of Contents PREFACE BY THE MINISTER OF PLANNING AND ...»
Improvements to the legislative framework to facilitate the use of the ICT infrastructure for business have been essentially advanced with the approval by Parliament of the Electronic Transactions Act and the Data Protection Act. Within the government sector, implementation of the Public Sector Reform Computerisation Programme, geared towards the development and modernisation of ICT in the public sector will also continue. In addition, the operations of the Central Statistical Office (CSO) will be improved through the use of electronic means of collecting and disseminating information. Within the Police Service, a Digital Security Agency will be established, with the capability to detect, combat and protect against cybercrime in both the private and public sectors. In addition, the establishment of the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) will create opportunities both in the knowledge and business sectors once the production capability to access the world is developed.
Physical Infrastructure Modern and efficient physical infrastructure (water, electricity, roads and bridges and drainage) provides the platform for achieving growth and competitiveness. Government’s policy is to ensure that the quality, reliability and maintenance of existing infrastructure is of the highest standard, while adopting transparent and fair procurement practices. In this effort, having a high local value-added is deemed a necessity for job creation, generating economic activity, building local capacity and using foreign exchange inputs efficiently.
Transport, Roads and Bridges In terms of transport, a National Transportation Study will guide the development of an efficient, diverse transportation system so as to ensure the movement of people and goods within, and between Trinidad and Tobago. High on the Government’s agenda for mediumterm is the construction of the $7.2 billion highway from San Fernando to Point Fortin. The first phase of the Project is expected to create 10,000 jobs. Government has required that a minimum of 40 per cent of all labour (both skilled and unskilled labour) and at least 40 per cent of the materials, equipment and supplies used for the Project must be sourced from the local economy.
Resources have also been mobilised for the restructuring of the layout of the Scarborough Terminal Building and reconstruction of the ferry service cargo jetty at the Port of Port of Spain. Additionally, the Licensing Authority will be transformed into a Motor Vehicle Authority Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 74 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 which will use as its foundation, Canadian best practices. This construction of 10 licensing sub-offices is also planned which will improve significantly service delivery to the population.
The management of roads and bridges will be strengthened with the establishment of a Roads and Bridges Authority which will have responsibility for determining the appropriate network of roads, highways, underpasses and the new bridges to be constructed. The operations of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) will be significantly improved with the acquisition of 100 new buses and the building of a strong in-house maintenance capacity.
Government remains committed to improving the poor road infrastructure in many parts of the country. These planned projects/programmes will increase the number of jobs available in the local construction sector while improving the road network to allow for expansion of commercial businesses throughout the country, notably within the five (5) targeted growth poles. Priority attention is also being given to drainage infrastructure. A Drainage Action Plan which includes a set of measures to be undertaken to, among other things, clear drains and major water courses will be complemented by a Nationwide Preventative Drainage Maintenance Programme targeting main, secondary and tertiary drains. A Drainage and Irrigation Authority will also be established.
Public Utilities An efficient public utilities sector13 will provide an enabling platform for businesses to operate and prosper. The main objectives for the sector are increased accessibility and improved service delivery to citizens.
WASA has identified a number of principal objectives to be pursued over the medium-term,
• A 24 hours a day, four (4) days per week (24/4) water supply to all customers by 2015
• Construction of new reservoirs
• Development and implementation of an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)Policy
• Universal metering and the achievement of financial sustainability The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA); The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC); The Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT)
• Development of a generation capacity plan in line with established policy
• Increasing the efficiency of generation plants
• Usage of alternative energy
• Maximisation of revenue generation With regard to telecommunications, actions to be taken include connection of customers to a fibre network; expansion of telecommunication-driven security services to consumers, general upgrade of the IT Infrastructure (Servers, Switches) necessary to provide services over the Fibre Network; upgrade of the Mobile Network to 3rd/4th generation system and upgrade of the broadband wireless (WiFi/WiMax) to facilitate higher download speeds. All of these initiatives will create the infrastructure and platform for ICT industry expansion and proliferation.
Strategy: Significantly Improve the Business Environment Trinidad and Tobago’s business environment has not kept pace with international business developments. The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index indicates that out of 183 economies surveyed, Trinidad and Tobago’s ranking has decreased from 95 recorded in 2010 to 97 in 2011.
The Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Council for Competitiveness and Innovation (CCI) have been charged with the responsibility for addressing the constraints that now exist.
Government will also develop an Industrial Policy linked to innovation that will give credence and strengthen the viability of existing manufacturing firms according them selective and targeted incentives to increase productivity and export-led growth. The Policy will also highlight new areas in which the economy can diversify and most important, provide the framework of laws necessary for all businesses to successfully participate in markets. Similarly, the Services Industry Strategy will also identify and support viable services capable of penetrating foreign markets.
The development of an integrated National Export Strategy will provide suppport for improved performance of those products and services with a high export potential. Improving export performance will not only focus on negotiating increased access for exportable products to priority markets but also include steps to improve our country’s competitive advantage and Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 76 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 increase national competitiveness. Therefore, in essence, an integrated national export strategy is a critical initiative in the thrust to diversify the economy. Complementing this strategy will be a Trade Policy with the primary purpose to delineate a clear path for Trinidad and Tobago’s engagement in trade issues at the local, regional, hemispheric and multilateral levels. The Policy will also offer recommendations on how local businesses can grow non-energy exports and widen the export mix. These initiatives are crucial in moving the diversification thrust forward.
Improving the country’s competitiveness will also be given a boost by finalising the Investment Policy which will prescribe the legislative changes necessary to improve the institutional and regulatory framework for investment. The Foreign Investment Act of 1990 will be repealed. This Act though amended was written during an era of relative protectionism and addresses issues of land acquisition by foreign investors and regulates the number of shares foreign investors can acquire in private and public companies. The current policy will inform the drafting of a new Investment Act which will take into consideration Trinidad and Tobago’s commitments under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, and under the many bilateral investment treaties signed with foreign countries.
Strategy: Strategically Manage International Economic Relations Re-orientation of Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs Government is giving priority to the development of a more focused and coordinated approach to the management of international economic relations through, inter alia, the establishment of new institutional arrangements for better execution of the country’s Foreign Policy. The initiatives over the medium-term will be guided by the phrase ‘Small Country Big Impact’ which underscores the intention to advance the ideals of the country regardless of the constraints associated with small size.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Foreign Policy accordingly focuses on developing/enhancing relations with strategic countries at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels and active participation in the multilateral arena. The new thrust in foreign policy will focus on strengthening capacity to ensure that the pursuit of foreign relations redound to the benefit of the country and citizens and allow for improved responsiveness to international developments.
The economic integration strategy will see our neighbours as our most natural trade and business partners. Of strategic importance regionally are relations with partners in the CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). Government will continue to support efforts to
Under the new foreign policy agenda, coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Communications, the strategies to be employed will include:
• Enhancing market intelligence to identify new opportunities for economic diversification and new markets
• Expanding the export base of key sectors
• Working with the business community to prepare more businesses and first time exporters to successfully engage in international trade
• Fostering joint ventures locally and internationally
• Supporting trade missions and export promotion activities and the branding of Trinidad and Tobago products Trade Relations For trade to be one of the significant drivers of economic diversification it must be propelled by the private sector. The Trade Policy 2011-2015 will focus on facilitating private sector trade expansion in high value goods and services that capitalise on local expertise and knowledge.
There are a number of areas in which the Government will act to improve the policy environment, institutions and linkages. Increasing the level and application of technology in the trade sector will also facilitate growth and diversification of private sector trade activities.
Our position regarding exports, industrial operations, and most importantly the services industry must be clearly articulated to ensure integrated sustainable growth in these areas.
The development and implementation of a National Export Strategy, an Industrial Policy and a National Service Industries Strategy will ensure that the path forward is clear and well integrated. The process of pursuing international trade arrangements will include the business sector and other stakeholders to ensure that trade and economic partnership agreements yield maximum benefits for market expansion and penetration.
As part of the strategy of becoming globally competitive, steps will be taken to establish a commercial, economic and political presence in emerging markets. To this end a more aggressive trade policy will be pursued with Central America, South America and Asia. This Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 78 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 will provide alternative markets for the highly specialised, knowledge intensive outputs that a diversified, knowledge-based economy will produce. Initiatives to secure new markets and greater access for this country’s products and services include bilateral trade negotiations with Panama, leveraging of the Caribbean Diaspora, CARICOM-Canada negotiations for the creation of a free trade area, trade missions and investment conferences. Additionally, the Trade Directorate of the Ministry of Trade and Industry will be strengthened and training in trade negotiations will be intensified in order to strengthen the Directorate’s capacity for negotiation.
Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 80 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 Chapter VII Poverty Reduction And Human Capital Development
Living in poverty is a debilitating experience. Housing, health and education are usually minimal, as inadequate financial resources and limited options mean that families are persistently unable to fully participate in meaningful social and economic activities. In addition, poverty creates a sense of hopelessness as well as socio-economic disparities that foster dependence, a shirking of responsibility and a stifling of thought and actions that are crucial to ambition and the legitimate expression of one’s self in productive activities. At the extreme, it heightens social tensions and threatens social stability. Moreover, the phenomena of child poverty, which can lead to the abuse of children and the involvement of youth in criminal activity, robs us of critical human capital and this cannot be allowed to continue.
Admittedly, while there are those who are truly in need of assistance and deserving of Government and private support, our strategy must be to ensure that this support ultimately allows citizens to be legitimately empowered and transition successfully out of poverty. In the context of Government’s vision that ‘we shall prosper together’ the continued existence of poverty is not acceptable. Steps will be taken to reduce and eventually eradicate this.
Based on the 2005 Survey of Living Conditions (SLC), 1.2 per cent (approximatley 15,600 persons) of Trinidad and Tobago’s population was indigent, earning TT$3,060 or less per annum. Approximately 15.5 per cent (approximately 201,500 persons) of the population was