TTCSI: More diversity needed in services sector

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

TTCSI CEO Vashti G Guyadeen –

The TT Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) says while the 2024 budget laid a foundation for sustainable growth and development, it is concerned that diversification within the services sector was inadequately addressed.

The 2024 budget was read on Monday.

In a five-page press release on Tuesday, the TTCSI said a holistic approach is needed for service sector development to become “a viable forex earner and economic growth catalyst.”

It believes the sector is a game-changer for the economy as it can create thousands of jobs and more entrepreneurs.

The coalition said in the past three years, it has “stepped up” advocacy for the sector, its entrepreneurs and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to ensure they are represented.

It said it has managed to achieve a lot with limited resources, including its G2T Programme and the Doing Business with the World Webinar Series, which helped prepare entrepreneurs to become services exporters and generators of real foreign exchange.

“In essence, we have sought to build an exporters’ mindset in the sector.”

When it comes to tourism, it said attending industry-specific international trade shows and conferences cannot be the only high-level strategy moving forward.

“There is need for a clearly articulated sustainable development and growth of these sectors – a roadmap, as it were – with clearly defined deliverables and benchmarks.

“As important as the diaspora market is, strategies must be designed, built upon and even expand beyond this market, to win new visitors to our shores.”

It called for the reopening of the TT Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI), which closed in 2020.

It added, “Agriculture, culture and the creative industries, manufacturing, finance, transportation, national security are all critical to a successful tourism product. They are all interconnected and inextricably linked.

“These connections must therefore, by all means, be strengthened and fully supported.”

The coalition also welcomed continued development of non-energy MSMEs and fostering entrepreneurship.

“…This budget presentation has begun the process of directly laying the foundation for economic diversification, and indirectly facilitating a level of growth of the services sector,” it said.

But it added that along with all these initiatives, attention must also be given to “the social fabric of our population…

“…The aim of which is continued support for and strengthening of the foundation of families, in order to minimise socio-economic challenges, as well as to reduce crime and criminality in our society. “It is imperative that every citizen play a role in bringing this about.”