Oil discoveries benefit TT
By Darcel Choy Thursday, April 19 2012
THE DISCOVERY of approximately 80 million barrels of crude oil has placed Trinidad and Tobago (TT) in a far better position as the Government continues its development thrust.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar disclosed this during her feature address at the 50th Anniversary of Independence Logo Launch Ceremony recently at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, Port-of-Spain.
Last month, Persad-Bissessar announced that state owned company Petrotrin discovered 48 million barrels at the Soldado marine oilfield while UK firm Bayfield Energy which Petrotrin has an equity stake in recently found a 32-million barrel deposit on at Galeota. She said with these finds, the country can therefore approach the future with greater hope and optimism.
“We must commit now more than ever to summon our strengths, to keep the peace, to drive towards higher productivity and to harness our resources to create a stronger country. We are already off to a great start with more and more indicators everyday which tell us that the resolve to hold firm to our policy direction is delivering results,” she said.
The Prime Minister noted in the year of the country’s Golden Jubilee, the nation celebrated new oil and gas finds and that the dream of diversification was becoming a reality supported by bilateral trade agreements and robust international investor interest and direct participation in our economic system.
She provided examples of what the Government has done to boost the country’s development in the education and creative sectors.
“Our tertiary education sector generally, is producing 5000 graduates annually to strengthen and build our human capital base and this will increase steadily until 2015. The curricula at both primary and secondary level are undergoing a transformative overhaul, with our nation having already achieved universal primary school education.
By 2015 we will have achieved universal early childhood education in a decentralised, community based system that conforms to high standards. We have returned integrated planning across the Governmental system, and introduced strategic planning in every Ministry, with a medium-term policy framework, a fiscal plan and a rolling plan for Public Sector Investment which are all on a three year cycle and are being rationalised for alignment and clarity of focus,” Persad-Bissessar explained.
She said the Government was strengthening its capacity for evidence based policy making, reviewing land use policy and preparing a national physical development plan even as we deliver goods and services more effectively to citizens across our communities.
“We are also bringing our creative sectors into the economic mainstream by capitalising and investing in our rich heritage and expansive creative talents,” she added
Addressing the creative sector, Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie said the country’s copyright sector was a net contributor of foreign exchange.
In 2000, the net flow of foreign exchange was US$32 million while in 2011, it was US$50 million.
“One of the good things about industries of this kind is that investment in domestic capital in skills training and development and in organisational capacity can yield significant results.
The evidence available to us suggests that the copyright sector of TT can thrive and grow in a competitive global environment without trade restrictions, partly by taking advantage of expanded access to a global market in a relatively free trading context,” he said.
Tewarie noted one of the country’s challenges was that even its most successful industries are very foreign exchange dependent. However, industries that have stronger intellectual property content, that depend strongly on indigenous talent and rely on creativity and the human imagination for their uniqueness and success will inevitably be less foreign exchange dependent.
“The creative sector features prominently in this and therefore we see culture and the creative sector as a fundamental pillar of diversification. In our country cultural industries, the creative sector and the copyright sector are only in their fledgling stages. Moreover, since such industries are stimulated by growth in domestic capital investment, which in turn stimulates complimentary investments in imported capital, which in turn stimulates growth of productivity and profitability-these are important industries to target,” he said.