THE GOVERNMENT should pay attention to diversification and the manufacturing sector more than the energy sector when Finance Minister Larry Howai presents the national budget next Monday.
Daphne Bartlett, president of the San Fernando Business Association, said yesterday diversification was the key factor in ensuring a stable economy in the years ahead.
She said: “We have to diversify. The Government has to get busy and really realise that we should definitely become less dependent on oil and put money in areas where people would employ other people.
“Entrepreneurs not only employ themselves but employ other people who become less dependent on the Government for employment.”
Bartlett said, “Diversification from now and for the next ten years should be priority. Our manufacturing sector is poised to take off but we have to be given incentives. Everything must be geared towards a manufacturer’s life being easier. Manufacturing can really be a good way to diversify the economy and we have a good manufacturing sector base already.”
She suggested having infrastructure already in place for manufacturers and allowing them to make their own changes according to proper regulation.
The Evolving Tecnologies and Enterprise Development Company Ltd (e TecK) parks are supposed to provide the physical infrastructure necessary for local businesses in the non-energy sector to grow and expand their operations in Trinidad and Tobago.
Bartlett’s statements were similar to those of Dr Roger Hosein, economist and senior lecturer at The University of the West Indies (UWI).
Hosein has said previously the manufacturing sector should be the budget’s main issue since it has “deep rooted economic development benefits”.
Bartlett said, for San Fernando specifically, the association would like to have a car park at Penitence Street and an administrative building to house all Government offices.
She suggested using State land near the proposed Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba for that building as well as to house vendors.
She also said some development should be done on the waterfront such as having a breakfast shed and beautification works near the water taxi terminal at King’s Wharf.
And the implementation of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) needs to be completed as well as proper deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) legislation to fight crime, she added.