The Tobago Business Chamber is calling for the repeal of the foreign investment act as a means of boosting economic activity on the island, post covid19.
The chamber’s chairman, Martin George, made the call in a Whatsapp voicenote on Friday as the organisation welcomed the government’s decision to hold the general election on August 10.
The Prime Minister announced the date on Friday in the Parliament
“The Tobago Business Chamber supports a shorter and less hectic election season because we think that the longer it drags on, the more disruptive it is for business and we definitely are happy that the time frame is shortened in this way. In that regard, we have no difficulty with the date being August 10,” George said.
However, he said the party which forms the next government must repeal the foreign investment act.
“There must be the immediate and unconditional repeal of the foreign investment act, which would then free up the flow of direct foreign investment into Tobago.
“Once that is freed up, you will see massive flows of foreign exchange into Tobago and that will also help with the national foreign exchange scenario.”George said the chamber will ensure this is done in a manner that facilitates knowledge transfer and an exchange of labour.
“So, therefore, you must always insist that persons partner with local investors for any foreigners who are wishing to invest in Tobago.
“That will dramatically speed up the economic recovery of Tobago and will definitely cause a massive inflow of capital and expansion of ideas and business innovation in Tobago.”
George said the chamber is also pushing for a 25 per cent minimum of local contractors and labour on the government’s proposed mega projects for the island.
“There must be a greater reliance on persons in Tobago who are able to provide skills and services. Therefore, the airport contract and the marina development projects, we want to see that there must at least be a 25 per cent minimum of local contractors and labour. There must be that input.”
He added there must also be training and grooming of local contractors to be able to undertake these massive projects “to learn as they go along and participate among the bigger international contractors.”
George said the incoming government must also give serious consideration to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit.