ICT related aspects of the 2012 #Trinidad & #Tobago Budget Statement

Minister of Finance, The Honourable Winston Dookeran presented the National Budget for 2011-2012 in Parliament on October 10 2011.

The following are excerpts from the Budget Statement 2012 at http://finance.gov.tt/content/Budget-Statement-2012.pdf

Under "III. Strategy for Economic Transformation", "Claiming New Economic Space"
Page 13:

"I turn now to the strategy for economic transformation.  Over the years, a consensus has
emerged among economic analysts and practitioners that there are limits to the expansion of economic
activities, in a small open economy such as ours, largely due to the constraints of limited physical space,
small population, and few natural resources."  

"There are new areas of economic potential that remain undeveloped across the landmass of Trinidad and
Tobago, places like the North Coast, South-Western Peninsula and North-East of Tobago as well as in the
missing sectors that must be developed in areas like shipbuilding and repair, information and
communication technology, sports and medical tourism….."

"…Mr. Speaker, as noted, the structure of the economy has not fundamentally changed despite the emergence of the dynamic
petrochemical and gas sector, what has changed however, is the skill set of this country.  Trinidad and
Tobago now has more human resource capabilities in areas such as public  administration, education,
health, business, financial services and information and communication technology."

Page 14:

"We will accelerate the use of  Information and Communications  Technology across the Public
Service to improve decision making and to deliver quality service to the citizens of Trinidad and

On Page 15, under "Improving the Regulatory Environment for Private Sector Activity":

"Mr. Speaker, the Computerized Customs Management System, ASYCUDA system will come into effect in
fiscal 2012. This will be integrated with the Single  Electronic Window which will improve the ease of
doing business in Trinidad and Tobago and our competitiveness."

"…The Government will introduce in fiscal 2012 an e-payment system for the payment of taxes and duties on
both incomes and goods."

"The Joint Select Committee of Parliament will report on the Procurement Act, and appropriate legislation
will be laid in Parliament. Within 3 months of the passage of the legislation the regulations and guideline
will be approved and the new structure will be geared to encourage e-tendering and web site availability
for the processing and awarding of tenders."

Under "Health Services" Page 17:

"Mr. Speaker, the accountability and quality of healthcare will be  further enhanced with the soon-to-be
established Accreditation Council to  certify best practice standards. We will also implement the Health
Information Management System throughout the health sector to ensure the rapid transmission of patient
information while preserving confidentiality."

Under Part IV. Strategy for Growth, Trade and Investment, "Our Investment Platform"
Page 28

"..Mr. Speaker, the 2012/2014 Investment Platform for Trinidad and Tobago is predicated on new
investments in:
• Traditional energy
• Downstream industries
• Alternative and Renewable Energy
• Maritime Economy
• Urban development
• Infrastructure
• ICT Platforms
• Environments promoting business competitiveness
• Capital Market Development and
• Creative Industries

Page 34:
"Broadband Infrastructure"

"Mr. Speaker, the country wide deployment of Information and Communications Technology is a key
enabler of sustainable economic and social development in Trinidad and Tobago. This has been identified
in two of our seven pillars proposed for sustainable development, namely the quest for a knowledge
intensive economy and access to Information and Communication Technology."

"Mr. Speaker, the Government will ensure that the un-served and under-served communities in Trinidad
and Tobago get the required access to the Internet. For this reason, citizens of Trinidad and Tobago need
a modern, accessible and affordable broadband platform to facilitate the use of ICT Services such as eGovernment, e-Health and e-Commerce."

"Mr. Speaker, the Government in collaboration with the World Bank is preparing a strategic map to roll
out a nationwide high speed broadband network within two years. This project would require a financing
plan for the backbone infrastructure, the details of which are still being negotiated."

* Communications Infrastructure

"Evolving Technologies and Enterprise Development Company has completed the construction of the
communications infrastructure for a modern data centre which will serve Trinidad and Tobago and the
South-Eastern Caribbean. A strategic foreign investor is expected to commence construction on these
high-tech facilities within a month."

Under Part V: Fiscal Measures,
Page 44

"6. Tax Administration"
* Changes in online filing and the payment of Taxes

Mr. Speaker, the Value Added Tax remains a strong source of our non-oil revenue and we will preserve
its importance by increasing the ease of filing and reporting, and also by monitoring VAT receipts.  
Given advances in the field of technology, the Board of Inland Revenue will be given the legal authority to
issue and utilize electronic invoicing, subject to the proclamation of the Electronic Transactions Act, 2010.