The US Department of State’s annual Investment Climate Statements reflects the state of Trinidad and Tobago’s economy and the governance of the Rowley Administration. This follows the last five years of the PNM government’s incompetence and points to structural and infrastructural failures which have resulted in severe economic depression and a crisis of confidence in the business community and wider citizenry. Today our investment climate is one of the worst in the world!
After spending over $250 billion from 2015-2020, and refusing to fully implement the Procurement Legislation, it is not surprising that the Rowley government has brought the country down to the bottom of the world ratings in terms of enforcing contracts. Over 91% of the countries of the world now rank better than Trinidad and Tobago with regards to dealing with contracts which impact significantly on the Ease of Doing Business.
Very low scores in access to foreign exchange, payment of taxes and registering property reflects a complete failure of government’s policy to stimulate the productive sectors and the economy overall. Ironically, the only fair ranking that the Rowley administration has been able to achieve is in dealing with the massive levels of insolvency which its policies have created and exacerbated.
As we look to the Budget 2021, the population has every reason to be petrified as this government which could not manage with revenues of over $45 billion per year, will not be able to manage with significantly less revenue.
One critical role of government to create the environment for business investment and growth. Instead the Report reveals gaping deficiencies in our Investment Climate. The resultant deficit in FDI and in local investment climate has caused the loss of jobs of tens of thousands of our citizens and the closure of hundreds of businesses with growing poverty and income inequality.
This has a direct negative multiple effects on the country’s revenue from taxation as well.
What is critically needed is people-centred budgeting, a deliberate strategy to budget and expend to ensure real growth, business confidence and the enhancement of quality of life of our citizens.
Sadly, if we are to judge by the performance of the last five years, my fellow citizens are in for an extremely difficult time at the hands of an uncaring government.