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Services sector can boost competitiveness

Published: 
Saturday, September 8, 2018
TTCSI President:

President of the T&T Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) Lara Quentrall-Thomas says the services sector has a pivotal role in boosting T&T’s competitiveness and stabilising the economy.

She told guests at a TTCSI a breakfast meeting, Procurement—The New Regulatory Framework, at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre yesterday that a 2015 study by the Ministry of Trade showed that services was the largest sub-sector in the country, with industries such as finance, insurance and real estate, distribution and restaurants making the largest contributions to its performance.

In 2017 the services sector contributed approximately 56 per cent of the country’s total GDP, she added.

“Any way you slice it we are more than half the pie,” Quentrall-Thomas said.

She made mention of Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon’s statements that the ministry, “in recognising the service sector’s potential, has been working to create opportunities, bolster competitiveness and support trade facilitation to stimulate investment in services through strategic growth.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Frances Seignoret said while the public and private sectors share some similarities, the private sector exercises greater flexibility in procurement of goods and services.

“Public procurement, however, involves expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars and therefore requires greater consideration of cost, time and impact,” she said.

In terms of economic development, Seignoret said the Trade Ministry has embarked on initiatives in different areas including the maritime sector, providing a range of opportunities for service providers.

“There is also a new national trade policy that is being developed and we have recently implemented together with the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards in the quality policy to focus on building competitiveness and ensuring there is a sound national quality infrastructure,” she said.

Seignoret emphasised that collaboration between the public and private sectors is important in the provision of goods and services and once public procurement is conducted within the framework of the new Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act it can be a driver of innovation and growth, generate business opportunities for the private sector and result in more efficient and more effective public services.

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