The Moruga Agro-Processing and Light Industrial Park which was formally opened by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday.

Two tenants have already been confirmed for the Moruga Agro-Processing and Light Industrial Park and two more have been issued letters of offer, Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon has announced.

Gopee-Scoon made the statement as she delivered the feature address at the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago’s post-budget webinar yesterday.

“For the first time in history a very proud government has really committed to the expansion of this sector (agriculture), to the expansion of the food supply and this is to be achieved in five years and this has been placed at the top of our national policy agenda,” Gopee-Scoon said.

“So that in order to enhance the perception of agriculture and continue to attract the best and brightest to the sector and realise this new vision, the Government spoke to the establishment of the Centre of Excellence in Agriculture and Biotechnology,increasing the use of technology in agriculture that is the only way you will be able to speak to scale and uniformity of product and so on and of course also in investing in precision agriculture to maximize yields,” she said.

Gopee-Scoon said the sector already benefits from being the only one that is entirely tax free.

“And of course I want to add here that and this is from the eTecK (Evolving Tecknologies and Enterprise Development Company Limited) stand point at the Ministry of Trade we completed the Moruga Agro-processing and Light Industrial Park, we already have two tenants, they’ve signed up already of course we have also issued letters of offer I think to another two and of course this is about numerous agro-processing opportunities particularly in rural areas,” she said.

The Moruga Agro-processing and Light Industrial Park was officially launched on July 14 by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley.

The opening ceremony was held in one of the newly built factory shells at the 18 acre site.

Gopee-Scoon said while the public expected a very punitive fiscal package instead the budget presented very important and necessary steps aimed at resetting the economy for growth and innovation.

She said three major themes flowed through the budget statement the provision of greater private sector opportunities, the creation of a more robust and diversified economy, and the implementation of a digital transformation to improve the ease of doing business and improve efficiencies in the private sector.

“These three pillars are not meant to simply help the country weather the debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also transform the economy and be prepared for a more open, competitive world in the near future,” she said.

President of AMCHAM T&T Patricia Ghany said the theme for the post budget Review was: “Recovery to Transformation”

“We knew this budget wasn’t going to be the quick fix to all our problems. We understood that the Government is facing a herculean task to right this ship and return T&T to a path of growth and prosperity. And we knew our physical and economic survival meant having to put aside our differences and start the process of working together,” Ghany said.

She said she was pleased with the direction taken by the government in the budget.

“The incentives in the budget through grants for start-up businesses, and tax credits to businesses to invest in tech start-ups or new tech businesses will act as a viable source for revenue, open the job market to many young professionals, and commit our nation’s future to a digitally-based economy where the opportunities seem endless. These are all great initiatives we have championed, and we are proud to see the government move in this direction,” she said.