The Roadmap to Recovery team has its work cut out for them. The 23-member team, filled with some of TT’s most prominent and prolific business and industry leaders, former public servants and politicians, is tasked with creating the outline for the country’s economic rebound after the restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of covid19 are lifted.
Since mid-March, the country has been on some sort of lockdown – schools were closed, bars and restaurants were next, then cinemas, the beach – anywhere people could gather for recreation was shut down. Borders were closed. Non-essential businesses were shuttered.
Now, while these restrictions are to remain in place until May 15, the Government is expected to review the policies, based on scientific data, and should very soon give an update on how the country will reopen. It’s clear though, that it won’t be business as usual.
According to the document outlining the committee’s terms of reference, the aim of this roadmap is to guide government’s action in the immediate-short term “as the country navigates a challenging period ahead in which a new normal and a high degree of uncertainty will persist for some time.” The roadmap will also have to consider the transformation of the economy and society in the medium to long term.
Following is the committee’s scope of works:
Immediate to short term: surviving the covid19 pandemic
• Assess the size and nature of Government’s stimulus using a baseline report prepared by committee member Prof Karl Theodore.
• Determine the baseline position of each sector – energy, manufacturing, agriculture, services, banking and insurance, retail and distribution, and construction and development – and ascertain the programmes and activities that could be quickly reignited or initiated and determine the affordable assistance needed to achieve this.
• Critically review Government’s social sector interventions with a view to determining those that need immediate reassessment and possible expansion in order to provide adequate protection for economically vulnerable groups, as well as support the livelihoods of those most affected by this crisis.
• Critically review Government’s capital expenditure programmes with a view to identifying projects that could immediately stimulate the economy and create employment.
• Identify private sector initiatives that can be immediately supported and implemented to complement Government’s efforts to jumpstart economic activity and facilitate growth and employment creation.
• Critically review Government’s revenue generating activities with a view to plugging areas where revenue is being lost and identifying new revenue foreign exchange-related streams.
• Establish clear objectives and targets to be achieved over the short term including support to maintain job opportunities in the economy.
• Make recommendations aimed at removing/minimising Government bureaucracy, enhancing efficiencies when executing policies and projects, and delivering better services.
The medium to long-term objectives:
• Identify opportunities emerging from the new world environment and make recommendations on those with the best potential to diversify the economy.
• Review the relevance of the National Development Strategy (Vision 2030) and adjust where necessary.
• Critically assess the agriculture sector and provide recommendations to aggressively expand and deepen the sector’s linkages within the economy, increase local content in the dietary preferences of the population, in order to reduce the high dependence on imported food products, expand the use of new technologies and maximise the income earning capability of farmers.
• Examine the current use of foreign exchange in the country and develop a strategy to increasingly redirect/prioritise use in value added activities.
• Conduct an assessment of Government’s development programme and make recommendations to improve relevance and effectiveness consistent with the goals, objectives and targets of the roadmap.
• Identify the elements of the enabling environment that will be required to facilitate the execution of the roadmap and determine the institutional framework that needs to be created to facilitate the country’s long-term survival.
• Evaluate and recommend core values that the country needs in keeping with the new economy and society we want to create.
• Identify areas/practices within the public sector that are barriers towards the ease of doing business and curtailing the execution of business activities.
• Make recommendations for enhancing the productivity and efficiency of the public sector through the greater use of technology.
• Make recommendations to enhance the use of fiscal incentives to encourage economic activity in no-regret pathways.
• Engage in an economic modelling exercise to (i) quantify the impact of the Government’s stimulus package and private sector initiatives on the GDP, growth and unemployment, (ii) determine economic targets to be achieved within projected timelines, (iii) develop appropriate scenario analysis, and (iv) place the short and medium-term roadmap in the context of macroeconomic realities.
The committee will break into smaller sub-committees, and will also engage sectoral stakeholders and the public for feedback. “The roadmap must be based on collective action and strong collaboration among all sectors of the economy and all segments of the society,” the document said.
The recovery team has six weeks to work out its roadmap. A draft report is expected on June 3 and the final report one month after.
Roadmap to recovery team
Chair: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
Vice Co-chairs: Minister Robert Le Hunte/Gerry Brooks
Colin Soo Ping Chow