The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries is cautiously optimistic about the economic outlook over the next fiscal year following today’s budget presentation.
We welcome the continued government expenditure on infrastructure development to assist in stimulating the economy. This will contribute to sustainability of contractors – large and small – and drive consumer spending. We also welcome the declaration of increased transparency in all government affairs.
However, we feel that sustainable economic growth could be facilitated through increased attention to the development of the services sector. We are pleased that manufacturers have been given greater incentives to upgrade their plant and machinery since services will be required in the execution of these upgrades. However, specific and targeted measures are needed for the services sector. One suggestion is that the re-tooling incentives which are being offered to manufacturers also be extended to service providers, particularly in the fields of ICT, yacht/ship repair, hospitality, culture, audiovisual production, energy, construction and banking and finance.
Moreover, TTCSI would have liked to have heard more during this presentation about fostering innovation in a tangible manner. At a time when the country is being forced to resort to deficit financing to fund expenditure, more must be done to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. This is where the ideas that will truly diversify our economy will come. For example, one area of interest would be measures that would lead to the commercialization of ideas, many of which come through the services sector.
We are also concerned about the hospitality sector, particularly in Tobago. While planned infrastructural development on the island may, in the short term, soften the impact of reduced tourist arrivals, plans must be put in place to increase the number of foreign visitors to Tobago.
Over the next few days, TTCSI will be issuing more statements on specific service sub-sectors as we continue our review of the Budget Documents and consult with our membership.
T&T Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI)
For more information or comments, please contact Mr Placide at 336-2758