|Trade Ministry leads charge to improve Ease of Doing Business in TT |
Thursday, May 18 2017
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry is coordinating with several ministries and government agencies to implement a robust package of administrative and legislative reforms, aimed at improving the ease of doing business in TT. The initiative is guided by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report.
According to a release from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, these reforms, which will be implemented by various ministries in the short- and medium-term, commenced in April and will span some 44 months.
The release listed a number of short term reforms (2017-2018) medium term reforms (2018-2019).
One short term reform is the operationalisation of the fixed container scanner at the Port of Port-of-Spain. This, according to the release, will have an immediate and significant effect on the private sector and consumers by considerably reducing the time and cost of importing and exporting goods.
Capacity building activities will be conducted for the Inland Revenue Division (IRD) with the aim of, among other things, improving taxpayer services which includes the launch of electronic services offered by the IRD and improving the efficiency of processing tax returns and tax payments.
The processes to start a business will be re-engineered by, among other things, conducting public education initiatives regarding the processes involved in starting a business to minimise application/registration errors and undertaking ICT improvements to remedy any existing defects within the online registration process.
An Automated System for Construction Permitting will be developed and implemented to reduce the administrative burden for obtaining a construction permit.
This system would allow for the: electronic submission of applications and supporting documents, communication with and notification of applicants via email or SMS and processing and shared decisionmaking across multiple agencies.
The Construction Permit System, the release said, will seamlessly integrate with existing systems, including the Government’s Single Electronic Window for Trade and Business Facilitation — TTBizLink.
As one of the medium-term reforms, a Secured Transaction and Collateral Registry System will be developed and implemented.
This system is a legislative and institutional framework designed to facilitate the use of movable property — intellectual property, agricultural products, accounts receivables, machinery and equipment — as collateral. This system will provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with increased access to finance, which will improve their productivity levels and growth. A policy that will guide the development and implementation of this system is being developed.
Another medium-term reform, resolving insolvency, would seek to improve the regulatory framework for insolvency. Work is in train to create a unified legislative framework by harmonising the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act with other relevant legislation, including the Companies Act, and fully operationalise the Office of the Supervisor of Insolvency, which will create an improved level of supervision for insolvency practitioners.
An Electronic Funds Transfer system will be developed, which will allow the Government to make and receive electronic payments, provide the public with more efficient and convenient options for transacting with the Government and provide a safe and secure Electronic Funds Transfer environment for consumers to transact business with Government agencies.
The interoperability of TTBizLink with all other trade-related agencies will be improved. This will facilitate the seamless exchange of data between TTBizLink and key stakeholders such as the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, the Customs and Excise Division, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, the Ministry of Health, as well TT’s trading partners. This seamless exchange will allow for a reduction in the processing times of several documents required for trade.