TTMA wants better competitive rating
The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers' Association (TTMA) is urging the current administration to correct the factors affecting this country's competitiveness, including crime and the perception of corruption.
"It is regrettable that as this country marks its 50th Anniversary of Independence, these issues continue to challenge our ability to develop as a nation," the TTMA said in a statement.
The group noted that the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2012 – 2013 cites crime and corruption among the top five problematic factors for doing business in Trinidad and Tobago.
In terms of the "Institutions" pillar, this country is ranked at 104 and 99 respectively, out of 144 countries surveyed for the indicators of "public trust in politicians" and "transparency of government policymaking".
In addition, T&T is ranked at 91 out of 183 countries on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 2011, with a score of 3.2 out of ten.
"The perception that different sectors of society are treated differently by policymakers has a significant impact on investor confidence, both foreign and domestic, and will further erode the competitiveness of this country's private sector.
The Association notes that in the Government's Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011-2014 outlines "Good Governance" as one of seven development pillars to ensure transparency and accountability. However, several measures to ensure effective governance and deal with the issue of corruption have not yet been put in place.
"In addition, the Honourable Prime Minister announced in January of last year that an Anti-Corruption Commission would be established to deal with white-collar crime, however, to date, legislation to effect this has not moved past the Joint Select Committee of Parliament."
The TTMA called once more for the implementation of Public Sector Procurement Reform Legislation, as well as the recommendations of the Uff Commission of Enquiry into the Construction Sector. Further, the Government should make public the report on the Piarco Airport Enquiry, the group said.
The Association said it looked forward to concrete measures in this year's national budget to deal with crime in all forms, as well as corruption, which, along with other problems such as labour productivity and inefficient government bureaucracy, add to the cost of doing business and hinder growth.