The findings of the 2021 UNCTAD World Investment Report that Trinidad and Tobago has suffered a US$439 million negative flow of Foreign Direct Investment confirms that domestic and foreign investors have no confidence in Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s competence to effectively manage the economy.
What this means is that there has been a greater outflow of investment from Trinidad than there has been coming into the country. Simply, investors prefer to put their money elsewhere than invest in Trinidad and Tobago under the current Government.
According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, Trinidad and Tobago achieved its worse rank ever at 105th in the world in 2019, before the advent of the global pandemic. This means that there are 104 countries in the world where it was more attractive and easier for companies and investors to do business. In fact, the ranking remained exactly the same in 2020 despite the fact that this country and the world were undergoing the Covid-19 pandemic.
The crisis of confidence was also featured in July 2020, in a Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago research article, which highlighted the “elevated” and “very high” levels of economic uncertainty as a result of the worsening investment climate. Moreover, this was taking place at a time when banks were recording high levels of surplus liquidity, with economic actors unwilling to borrow or to invest at prevailing conditions.
Despite the clear indicators, the Government continued merrily to undermine the economy, bringing us to the current situation where instead of attracting foreign direct investment, the Government has managed to push investors to other countries. This massive capital outflow also has significant and negative impact on foreign exchange holdings and availability, domestic job creation and the economy as a whole.
The severe collapse of the micro, small and medium sized business sector as a direct result of Government failure to support these businesses with more than promises, coupled with this massive loss of potential investment is a composite and direct failure lying squarely at the feet of the Minister of Finance.
Trinidad and Tobago’s “worse performance in the Caribbean” is a clear indication of the financial and economic mismanagement of the country over the last 6-year period from 2015-2021. The saddest part, is that according to the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister “we have done well”. May God help us all.