THE Couva/Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce (CPLCC) says the Mid-Year Review “was simple politicking.” CPLCC president Ramchand Rajbal Maraj told Newsday government “needed to put something out there that they are finally succeeding, while in fact recovery is weak.
The new gas production will only add to a modest recovery, for a while, because the non-energy sector is contracting.
“In other words, agriculture continues to shrink, tourism is shrinking, manufacturing is flat, the services industry is also flat. One sector alone cannot bring the economy back up.
You need a comprehensive diversification plan. Crime is another area. Government hasn’t really done anything about it yet crime affects the ease of doing business.”
In addition to Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s silence on crime during the Mid-Year Review, the CPLCC found it notable that nothing was said about “the next steps Petrotrin has to take to become viable and pay its public debt.
The chamber also asked why the silence on policies needed to help ensure the survivability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as to address what it considers to be high interest rates and service charges at banks. Something the chamber said “is putting an unfair burden on SME’s and ordinary citizens.”
Taking an overview of the economy, Rajbal Maraj called for reform of TT’s public sector, saying this is the only way to effectively facilitate economic diversification and macro-economic adjustments “on the back of lower energy revenue.”