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World Bank official: Crime hurting T&T’s investment climate
Crime and drugs are having a negative impact on T&T’s investment climate, Sophie Sirtaine, country director of the World Bank for the Latin America and Caribbean warned yesterday.
“These factors do impact on the investment climate. We just had a dialogue this morning with the Minister of Finance on this topic and we are going to have discussions with the National Security Council about this. The World Bank has developed significant experience in this area across Latin America. You are not alone in this and many other countries face this problem,” she said yesterday during a media briefing hosted by the World Bank and Ministry of Trade.
Sirtaine gave examples of how the World bank has assisted other countries in this area. “We did laboratories in Jamaica and heat maps allowing citizens monitoring by going online and seeing what is happening in communities. We have also helped governments in building infrastructure. Sometimes it is just a street light or a pothole that is holding back cars and making them targets. We are working on prevention and awareness,” she said. Trade Minister Vasant Bharath said one of the main methods for solving crime is job creation.
He explained: “Crime is not a new phenomenon. It is a deep seated problem. If we can create the economic activity and make the economy more productive and create more jobs, I think in the long term we will see crime levelling off and declining because we will have more people put in productive work.” Sirtaine said improvements in doing business efficiently will impact on growth of the economy and productivity.
“It will provide the people of T&T with security and the jobs they need. I am energised by the depth of the reforms in T&T to make doing business easier,” she said. “It increases foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country and it makes the environment more supportive of domestic firms growth. These are measures to help transform the economy and support diversification,”
Bharath said over the last 18 months Government had embarked on an aggressive programme to improve the ease of doing business with the aim of making T&T competitive with any part of the world. “We made a bold claim we would be in the top ten in the world in terms of places to do business. We have since moved from 88 in the rankings to number 66 based on the work we are able to do and in 2014 we hope to improve our rankings,” the minister said.
Bharath met with the World Bank delegation on Monday. The team was in T&T to assess the status of the investment climate projects, including those projects related to improving the ease of doing business. The delegation, which was led by Sirtaine, included Marialisa Motta, director, Finance and Private Sector, Latin America and the Caribbean Region.