Recognising the negative economic impacts of the sharp fall in oil and gas prices since mid-2014 as well as the decline in the production of both crude oil and natural gas the Ministry of Planning and Development in collaboration with the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) has been pursuing measures to diversify the economy. The Honourable Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis called a meeting to further discuss actions towards diversification with the Minister of Works and Transport, the Minister of Trade and Industry and the Minister of Finance and the Economy on March 24.
Dr. Terrence Farrell and the members of the Economic Advisory Board presented a draft diversification roadmap to the Ministers and Permanent Secretaries in attendance. At this meeting, it was agreed that private public and private sector coordination, stakeholder leadership and partnership, inter-ministerial collaboration, resources and focused actions are some of the key variables for this journey. Some of the other factors highlighted were the development of research and development in the public, private and tertiary education sectors in Trinidad and Tobago. Worker productivity and work ethics were also seen as challenges to be overcome.
The draft diversification roadmap presented by the EDAB identifies seven (7) industries to drive diversification which include manufacturing for export, nearshore financial services, creative industries, tourism, energy services, digital platforms and business process outsourcing and trans-shipment, ship repair and maritime-related services. Also highlighted are seven enablers which serve as initiatives which must be addressed for the efficient and effective realization of the diversification agenda as well as overcome obstacles to development. These are: infrastructure, both physical and ‘soft’ such as health and education; diaspora engagement; foreign direct investment; economic and commercial diplomacy as well as branding T&T; innovation; private sector and university collaboration and institutional reforms.
The draft diversification roadmap is a rationalization of what must be done towards the short, medium and long term in order to achieve a partial to fully diversified economy. The Ministers and Permanent Secretaries present will further analyse the document at the levels of their various ministries and more work will be done on the ideas presented to further enhance the concepts laid out and transform them into actionable plans for success.