Trinidad and Tobago ready to raise ease of doing business index

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Through the ministry of trade and industry Single Electronic Window (SEW), the ministry of planning and development will soon be launching a platform called DevelopTT that will contribute to an increase in Trinidad and Tobago’s performance in the Global Ease of Doing Business Index.

Trinidad and Tobago has placed 105 out of 190 economies in 2018 and 2019’s annual ratings. DevelopTT, which largely entails the automation of the construction permitting process is Trinidad and Tobago’s futuristic online portal for construction and development permitting. Minister in the ministry of planning, Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn states that through DevelopTT, the construction and development approval and application processes will be transformed from paper-based to an online system.

In speaking to government’s pilot agencies at a meeting on January 23, trade and industry minister Paula Gopee-Scoon stressed that “All systems must be perfect and agencies must be ready to serve the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago”.

The actual project was launched in 2018, which comprised the development of the online DevelopTT platform as well as the re-engineering of the business processes of the pilot agencies involved in the construction permitting process. The pilot agencies involved in the process include the Town and Country Planning Division (TCPD), the regional corporations, Highways Division and Drainage Division of the ministry of works and transport, the Fire Prevention administration of the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service, WASA, the Environmental Management Authority, Commissioner and the Housing Development Cooperation.

To date, the business processes have been re-engineered, the software developed, training in the use of the system has begun within the pilot agencies, as well as with samples of users from the public, and the next stage is a pilot focusing on Port of Spain and parts of the north region and then a nation-wide roll-out of the system once all of the bugs have been eliminated. All of the participating agencies are currently being outfitted with the necessary technical equipment and human resources.

The main objective of DevelopTT will be to ensure that the permitting process is faster and more efficient, so builders and developers can move to the development and construction stage a lot faster. This also applies to other elements of the Town and Country Planning Division’s mandate which augur to the benefit of businesses getting off the ground in a faster time frame. Once fully implemented, Trinidad and Tobago ease of doing business have the potential to increase to the top 25 in the world.

This involves the Town and Country Planning Division’s overall transformation process which includes digitization of maps and other legacy data for easy public and internal access and the enhancement of the TCPD’s customer service.

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