Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 5th 2013 Contents SEPTEMBER 2013 • WEEK ONE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
As the Minister of Finance is in
the process of finalising his
September 9 budget presenta-
tion, the T&T Coalition of
Services Industries (TTCSI) is
calling on the Government to include in its
budget a framework to allow for more indi-
vidual and corporate support to the creative
"Although TTCSI has recognised the efforts
of the previous and present governments to
invest in the sector through the creation and
expansion of corporate tax allowance, the
reality is that this has not yielded the desired
results," said Nirad Tewarie, chief executive
officer of the TTCSI, said in a statement.
The Government introduced a tax break of
150 per cent up to $3 million for investment
in local films and investment in other local
endeavours by corporate or private entities.
"Therefore, in its 2014 national budget sub-
mission, TTCSI, which is the voice of the
services sector, is suggesting the expansion of
the allowance to include sponsorships and
purchases of creative products," Tewarie said.
He said the organisation believes that indi-
viduals rather than just corporate should be
eligible to benefit from the incentives.
In the statement, Tewarie said these changes
would result in greater support to the creative
"This, we feel, will support the Government s
objectives of creating more viable creative
service businesses and is a good complement
for the State support via the T&T Creative
As part of its diversification thrust, the Min-
istry of Trade and Investment is focusing on
the expansion and development of the arts
and creative industries to make them more
sustainable and globally competitive.
Venture capital industry
Secondly, regarding the financial sector,
TTCSI believes the Government should facil-
itate a more robust and proactive venture cap-
ital industry, which Tewarie said can be done
through the revision of the Venture Capital
Act. He said there has been little follow up
since the Government s initial attempt to estab-
lish such an industry.
"Therefore, we need a venture capital system
which goes beyond just providing finances,
but invests in the human resources and the
know-how into projects."
"However, we need to figure out in a small
economy how to attract venture capital vehicles
that would not abandon risk management
measures, but do not demand hard collateral
for everything, "Tewarie said.
Facilitation of e-commerce
E-commerce is essential for a thriving serv-
ices sector and has been one of the main rea-
sons for the significant growth in the services
sector in the developed nations.
At the moment, e- commerce in Trinidad
& Tobago is archaic, largely because of a lack
of relevant infrastructure in the banking sector
to facilitate e-payments (for example e-pay-
ment legislation, which is essential to a suc-
At the same time there has been constant
challenges with the updating of the Audit and
Exchequer Act, which is preventing all stake-
holders from transacting business online with
the government for example, payment of VAT
and other taxes online.
These factors undermine the diversification
of the economy, one of the key focuses of
Therefore, the TTCSI recommends the Gov-
ernment ensure the early passage of the updat-
ed Audit and Exchequer Act to allow online
payments to and from government entities.
TTCSI embarked on a study last year with
the Commonwealth secretariat called the Draft
National Strategy for Export of Education
Services, which showed a tremendous potential
for the education export sector.
T&T is poised to target students from Latin
America, West Africa and Canada interested
in acquiring United Kingdom degrees. These
students can benefit from competitive costs
and the hassle from visa restrictions experi-
enced from other countries.
T&T can focus on attracting students in
areas including applied research and English
Language training, which can tie into the ener-
gy sector for sector specific training. This ini-
tiative will require the Government to take a
more coherent approach, while improving the
overall competitiveness of the education export
sector by developing the infrastructure -
accommodation, transport, visas facility and
The Government should develop an immi-
gration policy that facilitates genuine visiting
students whilst protecting against immigration
In addition to the infrastructure, tertiary
institutions, such as the University of T&T,
need to adjust fee structure to allow for revenue
to be generated from the enrolment of foreign
TTCSI urges the government to appoint
Trade Facilitation Officers and Commercial
Attaches at our embassies and key Consulates
as previously agreed between government and
These commercial attaches should have the
requisite level of experience in trade, business
relations and relevant foreign language skills
to effectively perform their duties in the capac-
ity of a trade liaison and possibly be officers
Government expenditure reform
However, the TTCSI said it feels the major
impediment to the development of the overall
services sector is the current form of CEPEP
and URP programmes.
TTCSI is calling on the Government to
restructure these programmes as they currently
compete with the private sector for labour.
TTCSI recommends that the Government
partners with the private sector to reform
these programmes to provide the requisite
skills and training, which, in turn, will create
opportunities for alternative lifestyles and
upward social and economic mobility.
TTCSI's 2013/14 budget
PHOTO RISHI RAGOONATH
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