is not insurmountable, says Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
Even as he detailed the Governments intention to go
full speed ahead with transport and industrial projects for
2007, Manning, in his Christmas address to the nation, labelled
inflation a challenge, but said his administrations
goal was to reduce it to seven per cent in the short term.
The Prime Minister said projects like the rapid rail were
in their final tendering stages or were about to be awarded
shall now begin with the final two contractors to determine
a preferred tenderer, so that work on the first phase could
start on the rail from Port-of-Spain to Curepe, extend all
the way to Sangre Grande; and later be built from PoS to San
Fernando and further South.
Contracts will also be awarded in January for the extension
of the Solomon Hochoy highway from Golconda to Debe and for
the dualling of the South Trunk Road from San Fernando to
Meanwhile, contracts for construction of the highway from
San Fernando to Princes Town, the flyover in the area of Powder
Magazine, Cocorite, and the widening of the Diego Martin highway
from Victoria Gardens to Four Roads are to be awarded within
the next three months.
According to Manning, significant steps to diversify the economy
and strengthen the countrys industrial base will be
taken during 2007.
This includes current construction of the US$1.2 billion petrochemical
facility, for the production of melamine, urea, ammonium nitrate
and, early in the new year, the new Essar iron and steel complex.
These projects are being made possible through foreign investments
equalling more than US$8 billion during the past five years,
Also, the Minister of Finance added that the Government was
reordering its capital programme, managing liquidity, improving
the availability of labour and encouraging increased agricultural
the present level of development, the quantum leap in employment
and the impact of the global economy, it is inevitable that
there would be a rise in prices in this country.
Looking towards the future, he said:
transparency and accountability, this administration is deploying
very significant resources towards the tremendous development
that this country has been experiencing over the last five
The Heritage and Stabilisation Fund, which has moved from
$415.3 million in 2001 to $8.6 billion in 2006, was one such
future resource listed by Manning.