The shock disclosure of the state of the Port Authority and Customs and Excise Department is yet another reason why the PNM Government is unable to attract international investments.
Senior officials of both agencies told the Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Finance and Legal Affairs on Friday February 19, 2021 that there are major backlogs and delays in clearing containerised cargo.
They revealed that the Port of Spain port is operating at 60 per cent capacity, as a result of a shortage of Customs and Excise officers, in addition to outdated and insufficient scanners and other equipment.
No plan was announced for dealing with the logjam. Port operations are a critical aspect in the supply chain and in a country’s economic growth and prosperity.
Under the PNM administration, Trinidad and Tobago has slumped to 105 of 190 countries in Ease of Doing Business, the internationally-accepted World Bank ranking of the business environment and regulatory systems.
The current Government has not been able to attract any investors during its tenure-to-date of five and a half years.
The Government performances on all measurable benchmarks are disastrous; the inefficiencies at the port would further wreck the ease of doing business environment.
During the Kamla Persad-Bissessar Government of 2010 to 2015, Trinidad and Tobago had risen to 66, its highest-ever global position.
That successful administration secured investments to the value of US $1.5 billion a year in 2013 and 2014.
The abysmal state at the city port exists even though Finance Minister Colm Imbert admitted in his budget presentation last October that the investment climate is “totally unacceptable”.
Mr. Imbert also said that measures would be put in place “to remove impediments to the ease of doing business…”
He assured that there would be reforms “ensuring that Trinidad and Tobago becomes a competitive hub for business to take root and flourish.”
Instead, the failed PNM Government is overseeing the crumbling of all aspects of the public sector business system.
This is yet another indicator of an incompetent, clueless and worthless ruling regime.
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