Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 31st 2015 Contents A18
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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Planning Minister Dr Bhoe
Tewarie says T&T will achieve
its target to balance its budget
next year by cutting current
spending rather than racking up
debt on the capital markets
despite enthusiasm from
investors for its paper.
In a recent interview with
Emerging Markets magazine, the
minister said the country contin-
ues to feel the pinch from the
decline in oil and gas prices, but
Government is taking steps to
guarantee that the economy
regains speed while keeping
deficits in check.
He said the T&T economy
expanded by two per cent last year
and inflation was 8.5 per cent.
Unemployment stood at 3.3 per
cent, with jobs being created
despite the economic difficulties.
Unemployment has fallen steadily
since 2010, when it was nine per
"In a fundamental sense, what
we have decided to do is live with-
in our revenue capacity," Tewarie
told the magazine in an interview
on the sidelines of an IDB meeting.
"We are reprioritising what can
This has meant cutting the 2015
budget by around $560 million
and eliminating $160 million in
planned public works projects. He
said the T&T government has
decided for now to stay away from
capital markets, because it does
not want to add to the debt bur-
"We can go to the markets and
borrow quite easily, because we
are regarded as a good risk, but
we are very conservative in our
approach and do not want to rack
up debt," he added.
Tewarie said the goal is to
ensure a balanced budget is
achieved in 2016. T&T s debt at
the end of last year was 40.2 per
cent of its $30 billion economy.
The government has also chosen
not to tap its sovereign wealth
fund, known at the Heritage and
Stabilization Fund, which ended
last year with $5.6 billion.
The Government s decision to
live within its means has also led
to long-term decisions. Budgets
will be pegged to oil at US$45 a
barrel and natural gas at US$2.25
per one million BTUs. It had orig-
inally planned the 2015 budget
with oil at US$80 and gas at
"It is prudent at the current
prices as a permanent reference
point," said the minister.
Tewarie said oil and gas will
always be the cornerstone of the
economy, but it is working on a
more diversified series of industry.
In the oil and gas sector, the gov-
ernment is confident its drilling
on new exploration blocks granted
in the past few years will result
in important finds to boost
reserves and up production. It has
13.1tr cubic feet of natural gas
reserves and 728m barrels of
proven crude reserves at the end
Among its plans is an agree-
ment with Venezuela to monetise
two gas fields the countries share
and a commitment to work with
Guyana and Suriname to help
them develop energy resources.
Tewarie said the country needed
to start taking advantage of trade
agreements with Panama and
other Central American countries
to boost its manufacturing sector.
Diversification of the economy
focuses on six areas where it could
become a leader in the English-
speaking Caribbean: creative
industries, financial services, food
production, information technol-
ogy, marine technology and
Jenny s on the Boulevard has
embarked on an ongoing training exer-
cise for its staff in customer service
and product knowledge.
For more than two decades Jenny s
on the Boulevard has been known for
practicing the art of hospitality and now
veteran hotelier Ali Khan and restau-
ranteur Jenny Dan Sharma are partner-
ing and combining their efforts to benefit
customers and the business.
The aim is for team development as
well customer driven and customer
focused emphasis to be at the highest
Ali most recently was country director
of Hilton T&T and retired after more
than 40 years of service. He now spe-
cialises with his team of colleagues in
rebranding, repositioning, quality cus-
tomer culture as well turn around of
Now an executive consultant at
Jenny s, he said: "Through this training
our team members at Jenny s will pro-
duce excellent customer service and
understand the important role the cus-
tomer plays in an organisation."
US Armed Forces
Fair in Miami.
benefits a week
that strong hiring
despite signs of
growth at the
start of 2015.
Dr Bhoe Tewarie
We are buying at the
Call today at 628-9100
Adding to Your Value...
Tewarie: T&T will
meet budget target Jenny's restaurant staff get
customer service training
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