The twelve key development areas proposed by the United National Congress (UNC) would restore Trinidad and Tobago to economic growth after the disaster of the Keith Rowley regime.
There have been overwhelmingly positive responses to the National Economic Transformation Master Plan that was recently outlined by political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
As shadow minister of trade and industry – I, [Rushton Paray] have consulted a significant cross-section of business people, including manufacturers and industrialists, and they have endorsed the proposals as effective engines for economic revival.
The business operators agree that the proposals would utilise idle capacity, create jobs, spur several sectors into growth and launch a diversification thrust. The prosperity engines embrace agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing, renewable energy, aero technology, science, digital innovation, tourism, creative arts, and music.
All the projects would be private sector-driven, with appropriate support, including incentives, from the government. The projects would also create local content, fostering a sense of civic pride, would require various employment skills, and would be environmentally friendly.
The 12-point approach was carefully conceptualised after discussions over a period of time with a number of experts on the economy, industry, trade and related fields. The purpose is to build productive capacity and to boost revenues from various sectors, giving a kick-start to small businesses, which have suffered greatly under the Rowley government.
The UNC appreciates the current disastrous state of the local economy.
Under the Peoples National Movement (PNM) government, the Gross Domestic Product has declined by almost ten percent, foreign reserves have contracted by more than a third, and the unemployment rate has soared. Trinidad and Tobago has not attracted any direct foreign investments; instead, there has been a constant flight of investors.
Every economic sector has deteriorated significantly, and the national debt is at its worst ever. The country collapsed on all metrics in the ease-of-doing-business index, which is an important yardstick utilised by prospective investors.
Against those dire circumstances, the UNC’s economic recovery plan has been welcomed and endorsed by the large number of entrepreneurs whom I consulted.
Member of Parliament, Mayaro