Thursday, February 22, 2018

InvesTT eyes $b deals

State company InvesTT hopes to close 16 deals in seven diversification sectors by the end of the financial year, the firm’s president Racquel Moses said yesterday. 

Speaking at the presentation of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), held at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business Mt Hope Campus, Moses said that InvesTT had been focusing on eight sectors to spur development and was ready to close the deal on 16 projects in seven sectors. 

The sectors and the number of projects within each are:

• Agribusiness—two projects

• Creative—zero 

• Clean Technology—three 

• Information and Communications Technology—two

• Financial Services—one

• Manufacturing—three 

• Maritime—two 

• Tourism—three 

The value of the investments range from just under US$1 billion to just under US$2 billion, she said.

“If we do all the right things and get our support from the Mnistry (of Trade), we have the opportunity to close an investment that will be valued more than all the FDI generated in 2013. And that is not an insignificant thing,” she said. These sectors were chosen as areas of focus where Trinidad and Tobago can have a competitive advantage. 

“One of the things we don’t have is the brand recognition that some of our competitors do, so we don’t make the long list that people might consider for investment—if we struggle to get on the long list it makes it even more difficult to get on the short list,” Moses said.

The UNCTAD report noted that globally there was nine per cent growth in FDI; out of a total US$1.45 trillion in FDI in 2013, the Latin American and Caribbean region received US$20.1 billion. 

“We did not see that growth in T&T and we did not see that growth as InvesTT. But what we did see is growth in our pipeline and since our investment timeline is about two years long we are encouraged by that growth,” she said. She also noted that Trinidad and Tobago—and the Caribbean—must seek to develop sustainable development polices—especially since 80 per cent of Caricom’s trade comprises T&T exports. “When your neighbours and customers do well so do you so more than anything it is important for us to get into (trade) agreements that ensure when we do well so do they,” she said. She also suggested local investors and businesspeople consider the Diaspora as a source of funding. 

Moses implored the media as well to present a “balanced view” of the country to help its international image. “There are challenges in every country but also a lot to offer and we need to have a balanced view and many people who read the paper online aren’t here and don’t have the context of the local environment to know that things are better than they seem. There is so much wonderful opportunity here and we need to make sure that shines through. It’s great to want to sell papers and create interesting news but it’s also wonderful to highlight all the wonderful news taking place,” Moses said to applause from the audience.