THA wants follow-up meeting with ministers
London: Tobago not anti-investment...
Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London is calling for a follow-up meeting with the relevant ministers to discuss the Foreign Investment Act (FIA).
London, in a media release yesterday, said the THA met with the ministries of Finance and Tourism, the Tobago Chapter of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Association last month to help facilitate a better understanding and a decision was taken to set up a committee to deal with the challenges.
He said that committee reported back within its two-week deadline and he hoped to regroup to discuss it.
“In order to encourage investment and in order to protect the national, what we said is that we will identify in Tobago designated investment areas...these are areas where the strictures with respect to the FIA will not apply, in fact, where we will have the kind of regime which will allow for investors to have a better opportunity and an advantage and to have all the various concessions which would make us competitive with the other islands in the region.”
London said he hoped the same group would meet again to discuss the committee’s report.
The committee includes Eco Industrial Development Co of Tobago (EIDCOT) chairman Neil Wilson, Tobago Chamber chairman Dianne Hadad and Tobago Hotel and Tourism president Chris James.
London said there has been speculation on the THA’s position on the FIA and he was seeking to “clear the air”.
He said the FIA was introduced to “encourage investment and to use access to land in Tobago as an incentive for those who wished to invest in the Tobago economy”, but there were “legislative loopholes” where investors could take advantage of locals.
“That is when we intervened,” London said.
“The way in which we intervened and the way in which the process developed, however, had sent some unfortunate signals and there was a feeling that Tobago was anti-investment.”
London said chief among the FIA shortcomings was the lengthy and “unpredictable” application process.