AMCHAM T&T SUBMITS 2021-2022 BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS TO MINISTRY OF FINANCE
The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) has submitted its recommendations for the upcoming 2021-2022 National Budget to the Ministry of Finance. AMCHAM T&T which represents nearly 300 companies across different sectors of the economy has outlined key areas for consideration for recovery from the pandemic in the short term and promote growth and development in the long term.
AMCHAM T&T’s budget recommendations recognize the need for the Government to increase revenue while simultaneously supporting individuals and businesses through the crisis. We also highlighted the importance of undertaking structural reforms that would lead to an improvement in the ease of doing business. It is important that our country’s economic recovery plan has clear objectives related to the improvement of quality of life and social harmony as prerequisites to a more attractive business environment.
Some of AMCHAM T&T’s recommendations for post-COVID growth are:
1. Develop a national recovery fund with an independent Board to mobilize private capital through the provision of future tax credits.
2. Consolidate and re-finance both sovereign and state enterprise debt.
3. Widen the tax net by enforcing the existing tax laws for non-compliant businesses.
4. Divestment and strategic investments/acquisitions of and by state companies that have been operating as commercial entities.
5. Amend regulations to allow institutional and private investors to invest a portion of their capital in Venture Capital and Private Equity funds.
6. Consider allocating less than 5% of the Heritage Fund for investing in Private Equity as an Investment Asset Class, alongside the Private Sector and the State.
AMCHAM T&T continues to emphasize the importance of digital transformation of the economy for economic recovery, citizen satisfaction and sustainable growth. In this context, AMCHAM T&T is proposing an accelerated digital policy for existing digital strategies and to support greater innovation within the government. Therefore, what is needed is a coordinated approach to complete and adopt the policies around open source, remote working, data strategy, GORTT asset management, cloud computing, change management, e-government omnibus technical standards (e-GOTS) and interoperability (e-GIF) and ISO/IEC 27000 series.
AMCHAM T&T is also recommending the creation and implementation of an ICT skills development and education policy that enables global ICT competitiveness in select sub-sectors; Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) methods for critical government services; full acceptance of digital and electronic signatures; establishing a data interoperability framework; designing a comprehensive change management strategy and communications plan for engaging stakeholder groups within and outside the government; a national open data policy and implementing a National Unique Identifier and Legal Digital Identity.
Additionally, AMCHAM T&T is recommending the prioritization of the National Statistical Institute and its resource requirements to attain better quality data sets on the national economy and to improve the frequency of the update/delivery of such data for both Government and business planning.
AMCHAM T&T believes the express parcel industry is an important component of T&T’s competitiveness which is why shipments should be processed within 24 or at a maximum of 48 hours from the beginning of the last-mile (arrival into T&T) process to the end. Therefore, with international trade increasing, AMCHAM T&T recommends the use of the full capacity of ASCUYDA by the Customs and Excise Division to avoid delays and unnecessary backlogs that are negatively impacting doing business in T&T. Also, once more, AMCHAM T&T would like to see the implementation of a de minimus value of USD$400 to ensure a much more efficient system that would lead to increased collection of much-needed revenue.
On our nation’s energy front, AMCHAM T&T recommends that the government articulate and share a comprehensive energy sector strategy that addresses the entire value chain for the monetization of the nation’s hydrocarbon resources and transition to renewable sources of energy and fuel. Included in this strategy should be the operationalization of a T&T High Commission in Georgetown to further T&T’s national interests, with a focus on economic diplomacy and trade promotion since Guyana is projected to be the fastest-growing economy in the Western Hemisphere over the next decade.
Also, as a measure of supporting individuals and businesses in T&T, AMCHAM T&T believes it is important that the Government settles its outstanding debt to private companies. Many companies have granted Government credit terms for goods and services, which are past due. Therefore, in order to facilitate quicker recovery from the pandemic, it is important that the Government honour its obligations, as many companies are struggling to obtain positive cash flow during these difficult times.
As always, we stand ready and willing to discuss further and to work with the Government and other stakeholders on the implementation of these recommendations.
AMCHAM T&T invites you to read our 2021-2022 National Budget Recommendations.
For further questions or comments please contact: Nirad Tewarie, CEO AMCHAM T&T at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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