The new government has made efforts to focus on economic restructuring and transformation as the global price of oil, on which the National Budget is based, continues at the low of about US$45 per barrel.
Speaking generally of The Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) during his budget presentation at Tower D of the International Waterfront Complex, Port-of-Spain on Monday, Finance Minister, Colm Imbert, stated that government prioritised ongoing projects, loan-funded projects and projects with contractual obligations.
“We have re-prioritised, refocused, and where necessary consolidated public investment expenditure towards those areas and activities which we begin to reverse the conditions of economic stagnation experienced over the past five years,” he said.
Specifically, the areas of focus of economic restructuring and transformation include the Film, Fashion and Music Industry; the Food and Beverage Industry; Investment Promotion; and Enhancement of the Single Electronic Window (SEW).
The National Budget PSIP document noted that these areas would receive an initial allocation of $28.5 million, plus a US$25 million International Development Bank (IDB) loan for the enhancement of SEW .
It was noted that, while TTBizlink (SEW platform) hosts 45 e-services over 24 Government departments and nine ministries, much could be improved. Therefore, starting in 2016, the IDB loan is expected to be disbursed over five years with the aim of optimising and simplifying foreign trade and business processes; improving domestic interoperability among national government institutions and external interoperability with trading partners; and modernise the governance and institutional framework of the SEW.
CreativeTT Limited and its subsidiaries in the Film, Fashion and Music Industry – namely FilmTT Limited, FashionTT Limited, and MusicTT Limited – are expected to receive $10 million as Government believes the industry has potential for further development.
It was noted that the aim of CreativeTT Limited was “to foster increased public loyalty for the TT Creative Sector to an extent where brand advocates can be born out of the customer base. Additionally, the company aims to identify hindrances and gaps in the value chains of the sector and address them through a series of organised and effective interventions to promote business development and facilitate export activities.” Several projects and activities will be put in place to accomplish these objectives including an Artist Portfolio Development Programme; a Music Video Workshop; hosting fashion trade shows for sales; the development of a “Caribbean Aesthetic” fashion brand; production assistance and script development for films; the creation of a Film Production Directory; and indigenous film festivals.
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