BVC - Dec, 2015 - page 11

Business View Caribbean - December 2015 11
growth, development, and overall prosperity of Trini-
dad and Tobago.”
Senator Gopee-Scoon said that “The non-energy
sectors targeted for growth and development are
largely labor-intensive in nature and one of the main
challenges facing these industries is obtaining the
requisite skilled labor.” She assured the members
that “As a Cabinet, early policy decisions will be tak-
en to cure this impasse which bears seriously and
negatively on our manufacturing and retail sectors
in particular.” The Minister informed the member-
ship that following a recent meeting with business
stakeholders, markets that should be targeted were
identified along with required institutional support
arrangements. She said that specific areas of con-
cern were identified such as tax concessions for
exporters entering new markets, a national calen-
dar for trade missions, and improving the capacity
of the Chemistry Food and Drugs Division to certify
food related items for export.
Minister Gopee-Scoon added that another area
of focus in the interest of building the non-energy
sector is investment. She stated that, “We will be
taking a comprehensive look at the existing invest-
ment framework with a view to strengthening it by
refocusing InvesTT to ensure completion of invest-
ment projects, reviewing and updating the Foreign
Investment Act of 1990, and revamping our model
investment promotion and protection agreements
She also emphasized the importance of becoming
an innovation-driven society by developing a culture
of innovation through research and development to
encourage economic growth in the 21st century.
In closing, Minister Gopee-Scoon gave the com-
mitment of the Ministry to work with the private
sector. She said, “We need to work together, hand
in hand, if we are to have a resilient diversification
thrust in our economy. It is time for us to take bold
and decisive actions that will lay a new foundation
for sustainable economic growth. Your businesses
are the lifeblood of our economy. I am challenging
you to step up and accept some level responsibility
for your survival and growth.”
During his welcome remarks, Mr. Robert Trestrail,
President of Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of In-
dustry and Commerce, expressed his pleasure to
host the Honourable Minister. He reinforced the call
for the development of the non-energy sector stat-
ing, “We reinforce the call, again, for a serious and
concerted effort to be made to intensify our diver-
sification efforts and develop alternative sources of
foreign exchange if we are to stimulate sustainable
economic growth and development.”
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