Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie wants to see T&T jump 20 places from its present 84th spot in the 2013 Global Competiveness Index. "It is not that we have done so badly, but that other countries have done a lot better. Number 84 is not good enough. I think the Council for Competitiveness and Innovation knows it has its work cut out for it and must focus on moving the country 20 places up from 84 at the very beginning on the upward movement of T&T in the competitiveness Index," Tewarie said.
He was speaking to the media yesterday after Caribbean Industrial Research Institute's seminar on Business Innovation, Risk and Resiliency at the banquet and convention centre, MovieTowne, Audrey Jeffers Highway, Port-of-Spain. He said the Government's pre-budget rally on Saturday at Mid Centre Mall, Chaguanas, will be a mix of budgetary and political issues.
"There have been many stakeholder meetings held by the Finance Minister. The pre-budget rally was not really called by the Prime Minister, but is a request by activists who said we need to do something in the public and bring our people together to focus on issues that are important. It is in this context the pre-budget rally was called and it will be held on Saturday. The Minister of Finance will be a speaker as well as other speakers, and I suspect it will be a mix of budgetary issues, policy issues and political issues," he said.
Tewarie identified five areas the budget would cover. "We are going to the budget and it is a serious matter and it is for the next year. There are five priorities the Government is focused on. These are crime and law and order, hospitals and healthcare, poverty eradication, food security and sustainability and competitiveness and innovation.
"I think we are moving out of the decline period and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) highlighted some time ago, indicating that we were turning the corner, moving from decline to growth," he said. In the next fiscal year Tewarie's ministry will be continuing its projects, among them the development of Invader's Bay.
"In this budget, the things that are going to be different is that we are going to be able to address the issue of a sustainable city of Port-of-Spain as one of those Inter American Development Bank-funded projects of various cities in the Americas. "We will be trying some of the things we planned for east Port-of-Spain as well as develop the city itself. Work will also continue in Chaguaramas, where we will expand the boardwalk there and is part of our plan and work will continue in Invader's Bay in terms of finalising negotiations with existing investors and calling for new investors for the Invader's Bay project. Those are ongoing projects and I expect they will be supported in the budget."