The next government of Trinidad and Tobago will have an uphill task of wrestling our nation out of the economic quandary we have entered due to the Peoples National Movement (PNM) inability to manage an economy. This requires new thinking, based on sound strategy and innovative concepts to get the post-COVID-19 economy back to its pre-2015 heights. In comes Kamla Persad Bissessar and the United National Congress (UNC) National Economic Transformation Masterplan.
Persad Bissessar has vowed to transform the culture of economic governance and the relationship between the state and the private sector. No more will the bureaucracy be overflowing with overregulation and state enterprises that are burdens on the taxpayers as divestment plans for non-performing state enterprises along with debt working strategies will be implemented to correct the fiscal balance sheet that has been running at a deficit for far too long.
An economic strategy council will be established to develop and/or oversee the twelve prosperity engines that will be used to bolster the Trinbagonian economy via a dozen different sectors such as agriculture, energy, tourism, and manufacturing technology. The brilliance of this concept is that all twelve of these projects will be undertaken by willing private sector participants within and beyond the borders of Trinidad and Tobago. With the government playing facilitator, these private firms will develop and operate these projects, shielding taxpayers from financial risk and ensuring that these enterprises be profit-driven and expertly managed. These industries will see the employment of thousands as saturated labour markets throughout this nation will flood into these new avenues of employment.
This ground-breaking economic plan will also call upon higher levels of government transparency, which is critically needed for a nation that has its Corruption Perception Index rating steadily declining. The Heritage and Stabilization Fund will become part of Trinidad and Tobago fiscal responsibility framework ensuring against abuse and misuse. Ministries will be mandated to have developed and apply for approval, one-year ministerial agendas which will fall in line with another progressive mandate of creating five-year ministerial strategic plans. No more will ministries operate in the shadows and ministers deliver silence. All will be accountable to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, in a time where we need to work the hardest.
Large firms will not be the only beneficiary of an economic plan promoted by a former and soon-to-be prime minister that has dedicated her entire life to ensure the livelihoods of others remain intact and that their lives are as comfortable as possible. The tremendous stress on the necks and shoulders of the people and small businesses of Trinidad and Tobago inflicted by a tax-hungry PNM must be relieved.
Persad Bissessar will repeal property tax legislation and end the development of the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority. They will once again free thousands of food items from VAT as she will work to simplify the tax regime. This plan recognizes that the best way to pick up a battered economy is to engage the citizenry and middle-class businesses, placing faith in their ability to innovate and provide for the economy. A Persad Bissessar government will open the door to those opportunities for growth be reducing income and corporate taxation of citizens.
And of course, as Trinidad and Tobago reminds the PNM of their sins committed in Pointe-a-Pierre on August 10, the UNC will seek reconciliation by restructuring and reopening the Petrotrin refinery. This recommencement will return regular gas into production as it will capitalize on emerging markets in Guyana, Suriname, and Grenada.
Persad Bissessar economics is based on giving the private sector a fighting chance and allowing for the individual citizen to enjoy financial freedom and economic opportunity. No more will be the era of over-relying on an inefficient and corrupt government to address societal needs in every single aspect of Trinbagonian life. This UNC economic masterplan places faith in you as an individual to take up your responsibility, take advantage of the opportunities granted to you by this new fiscal climate and take charge of your destiny.
Persad Bissessar is determined to put citizens back to work, she is yearning for the people she loves dearly to have every single chance of doing better for themselves and ensuring that they will always have food on their tables and clothes on their backs.
In the face of turbulent economic waters ahead, we know that Persad Bissessar economic plans will deliver the innovation, diversification and sustainability required to set Trinidad and Tobago back onto the right track, once again.