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Saturday, October 21 2017 @ 05:18 PM AST

Trinidad and Tobago moves to improve "ease of doing business"

In about two to three weeks, the government of Trinidad and Tobago will be bringing the Customs (Amendment) Act "that would again allow us to further create the enabling environment that we are seeking by allowing (the) ASYCUDA system to be merged with a single electronic window, thereby allowing information once its input into the ASYCUDA system to be shared across several different Ministries platforms, including the Ministry of Trade, the Chemistry Food and Drug, the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards, the Animal Quarantine and the Plant Quarantine," Trade, Industry and Investment Minister Vasant Bharath said during the February 19 (2013) sitting of the upper house of this country's parliament. ASYCUDA is the acronym for Automated SYstem for Customs DAta.

Bharath said that "as it stands today, a customs broker would have to go to each of these agencies to have those documents stamped. When the Minister pilots the amendment Bill in a couple weeks’ time that will no longer be the case because information will now be shared across several different Government departments and Ministries. In addition to which, that amendment will allow or ensure that there will be advance manifest provided to customs authorities to ensure that before the vessel arrives the manifest will present it so that they can start processing documentation both from an efficiency standpoint as well as from a security standpoint."

Bharath said that over the last eight or nine months, government has been "ensuring that we create the enabling environment that would then subsequently allow those investors who are interested in coming to Trinidad and Tobago to hand hold them, essentially, so that they are aware that we are interested in keeping them in Trinidad and Tobago."

On other moves to improve this country's ease of doing business, Bharath said government has reduced the time it takes to register a business. "We have managed to reduce processing time down from seven days to three days; work permits, through the Minister of National Security, work permits from six weeks to two and a half weeks; the granting of import and export permits and licenses down from four weeks to one day; certificates of origin which is required to all goods entering into the country, processing time is reduced down from 24 hours to 30 minutes; and fiscal incentives through the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, the processing time has been reduced from six weeks to 11 days.

Trinidad and Tobago moved up one spot in the latest international ease of "Doing Business" ranking put together by staff of the World Bank Group. The Doing Business project launched in 2002, looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle in 185 economies. In the Doing Business 2013 report, Trinidad and Tobago ranks 69 out of 185 economies. In the 2012 report, this country ranked 70.

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