MAYARO MP Rushton Paray says the shock disclosure of the state of the Port authority and Customs and Excise was yet another reason why the Government is unable to attract international investments.
Paray, who is the Opposition’s spokesman on Trade and Industry, said port operations were a critical aspect in the supply chain and in a country’s economic growth and prosperity.
On Friday, by senior officials of both agencies at a joint select committee meeting on Finance and Legal Affairs admitted to major backlogs and delays in clearing containerised cargo.
The JSC was told the Port of Spain port was operating at 60 per cent capacity because of a result of a shortage of Customs and Excise officers, in addition to outdated and insufficient scanners and other equipment.
“No plan was announced for dealing with the logjam,” Paray noted in a release on the weekend.
“Under the PNM administration, Trinidad and Tobago has slumped to 105 of 190 countries in Ease of Doing Business, the internationally accepted World Bank ranking of the business environment and regulatory systems.
“The current Government has not been able to attract any investors during its tenure-to-date of five and a half years. The Government performances on all measurable benchmarks are disastrous; the inefficiencies at the port would further wreck the ease of doing business environment,” he added.
He said in 2010-2015, TT had risen to 66 on the ranking and the then People’s Partnership administration secured investments to the value of US $1.5 billion a year in 2013 and 2014.
Paray reminded of statements made by Finance Minister Colm Imbert in his budget presentation in October “that the investment climate is ‘totally unacceptable’.
“Mr. Imbert also said that measures would be put in place ‘to remove impediments to the ease of doing business...
“He assured that there would be reforms ‘ensuring that TT becomes a competitive hub for business to take root and flourish.’
“Instead, the failed PNM Government is overseeing the crumbling of all aspects of the public sector business system,” Paray added.