The Economist has compiled a table of the fastest shrinking and growing economies in 2016. While the Economist Intelligence Unit has projected a World GDP growth of 2.7% in 2016, this is an increase from the 2.4% that was estimated for 2015. Despite the improvement for 2016, the euro area is only expected to show a very modest growth.
The table shows a particularly gloomy picture for war-torn and commodity-exporting countries. It’s no surprise that Libya is expected to have the fastest shrinking economy at just over -8%. The second fastest shrinking economy, at just over -6% is our neighbour, Venezuela, which is in deep economic recession. Syria, another war-torn country comes in at number 4, and then Brazil at number 6. Apart from falling oil prices, the implications of the Petrobras scandal will affect investment in oil and gas for Brazil.
Trinidad and Tobago comes in at position 9 for the fastest shrinking economy, with a GDP change of about -1% for 2016. This is very bad news for everyone living in this nation. It is very clear that successive administrations have failed to adequately diversify the economy. The current plan by the present government seems to be as follows:
 Increase Tax (by up to 200% – business levy/green fund)
 Cut Expenditure (by about 7%)
 Build More Houses
 Use a portion of the Heritage and Stabilization Fund (US$1.5 Billion)
But these measures will not [a] diversify the economy or [b] address the foreign exchange shortfall. What seems to be missing from our leaders is creativity and vision, and unfortunately the nationals will be the ones to pay for the lack of foresight.
According to the World Bank. 2016. Doing Business 2016:globally, Trinidad and Tobago stands at 72 in the ranking of 189 economies on the ease of starting a business for an entrepreneur. This also reflects dismal performance in terms of being able to attract foreign investors. Of course the crime situation does not help. Pirates are also now threatening the Yachting industry, and some yachtsmen may now be opting to go to Grenada instead.
While economies around the world have taken steps making it easier to start a business—streamlining procedures by setting up a one-stop shop, making procedures simpler or faster by introducing technology and reducing or eliminating minimum capital requirements, T&T seems not to be at the forefront of this drive.