The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers' Association (TTMA) wants greater local content in Government projects.
In a news release, the Association said involving the engagement of local expertise and resources on such projects builds local capacity, conserves foreign exchange and stimulates job creation.
It noted it was "heartened" to learn that OAS Construtora, the Brazilian construction company contracted to build the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension, is engaging local suppliers of equipment for use on the billion-dollar project.
"The Association views this as a step in the right direction; however the TTMA's perspective on local content goes deeper than a foreign contractor purchasing items from a local distributor. TTMA would like to see greater utilisation of indigenous inputs, both in terms of goods and services, in all domestic projects. Thus the Association is calling for active consideration to be given to incorporating local content provisions into any contract awarded to foreign firms," the release said.
The TTMA said it was "counterintuitive" not to involve local service providers in Government projects so they can learn and develop their expertise and be in a better position to export their services. This is in light of tertiary education institutions that are designed to build the capacity of local engineers and manufacturers in support of the Government's stated intentions to link academia with industry to sustainably diversify the economy through knowledge creation and innovation.
"Local manufacturers and businesses contribute to this country's economy through corporate tax and other levies, and provide employment for thousands of citizens—employees who, in turn, pay income tax and engage in consumer spending—with positive ripple effects through the economy at all levels. The TTMA is of the view that a local content policy will ensure that domestic procurement practices are in compliance with international best practices, and guarantee market share to the local industry; providing opportunities for sustainable development," the TTMA said.