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No growth in non-energy sector

Published: 
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Dr Farrell tells T&T Chamber panel:
Rocio Medina Bolivar, IADB country representative, left, John Hadad, CEO, Hadco Group, Christopher Skinner, CEO, Lange Trinidad Limited and Dr Terrence Farrell, economist, responds to questions posed during the T&T Chamber’s annual business luncheon at the Grand Ballroom, Trinidad Hilton & Conference Centre, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Economist Dr Terrence Farrell, who resigned as the chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) earlier this year, does not expect the non-energy sector to grow in 2018 and 2019. In fact, he expected it to contract.

“That is my forecast,” he said during a panel discussion at the T&T Chamber’s Annual Business Luncheon at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre yesterday.

“By the way the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agrees with me. The energy sector is going to improve simply because our gas production is beginning to recover. As a result of that the energy sector will see some increases,” he said.

Farrell said that the temporary poor economic performance of the country is not the issue. What the country needs to do is establish strategies now to diversify the economy in the future.

“The issue is what investments we need to start now that will move us and prepare us for five years from now, ten years from now and fifteen years from now,” he said.

Chamber CEO Gabriel Faria, who chaired the panel discussion, noted the steep decline in revenue from the energy sector.

“For those who do not know, the energy revenue over the past three years has gone from 31 per cent of revenue to just under three per cent. We have a new environment that we are operating in. We cannot continue to do what we were doing previously,” he said.

Faria said companies are still calling the T&T Chamber to complain about the foreign exchange issue and other companies are trying to establish new paradigms.

He said: “There are two companies here, Lange Trinidad Limited and the Hadco Group who decided not to complain about the problem but to change the particular outcome. We have to understand that energy remains an important part of our economy but we have to step up the game.

“We also have to recognise that retail and distribution is a very substantial user of foreign exchange. In light of declining Government revenue, Government has to change its role to a facilitator allowing the private sector to take its role in developing the economy.”

Ronald Hinds, president of the T&T Chamber, told reports he is relieved that container scanners have finally been put into operation at the Point Lisas Port.

“There is the need for efficiencies of Government delivery of things that we know need to be done,” he said.

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