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Much work still to be done says Tewarie
Although the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has just categorised T&T as having achieved developed country status, there is still much work to be done, Planning and Economy Minister Bhoe Tewarie said yesterday. “The OECD has graduated T&T as having achieved developed country status. The British High Commissioner Arthur Snell has indicated that it should be celebrated as the most important moment in our country’s history. I do think we have a lot to celebrate in T&T, but I don’t think that we should be carried away by the OECD reclassification of T&T,” he said. He was speaking yesterday at the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) two-day forum on Creating Globally Competitive Businesses for Developing Economies at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Port-of-Spain.
He said the Government wants the private sector to play a larger role in the country’s development. “We want the private sector to grow. The State is very dominant and a significant portion of what the State controls is not profitable and that is why the whole divestment strategy was initiated. We want a bigger stake for the private sector but the opportunities must be seized,” he said. He also spoke about the “five poles” of development the Government has targeted in the country and added that under-developed areas must be developed to solve the social ills that exist. “Cedros is seven miles from Guiria in Venezuela. We must turn a thriving drug industry into something more worthy of our people.
This is an area of much variety and great potential for port development, development of the fishing industry and services related to the energy industry,” he said. He added that Government has set medium-term targets to achieve this development which include a target of two per cent economic growth this fiscal year, increasing expenditure in research and development to at least one per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2014 and to increase non-energy exports by 100 per cent by 2014. “These are hard-line targets set for the medium term and other targets to achieve a number of strategies and objectives,” he said.
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