Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 19th 2015 Contents A15
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RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
The longer the slump in oil and
natural gas lasts, the more likely
T&T could end up in an economic
slump, says lecturer and economist,
Dr Anthony Birchwood.
If T&T has to borrow from any
international financial organisation,
he said, this country have to demon-
strate that it is working hard to reform
"Right now, we are not taking hard
measures to reform the economy, he
said in his contribution to a post
budget forum hosted by the Depart-
ment of Economics at the University
of the West Indies, St Augustine. Also
taking part in the forum, chaired by
economics lecturer Dr Daren Conrad,
were senior lecturer Dr Roger Hosein,
director, tax services at KPMG Nicole
Joseph and president of the T&T
Contractors Association Mikey Joseph.
Birchwood said the budget of the
last administration was pegged against
an oil price of US$80 a barrel and
gas price at US$2.75 per mmbtu, with
estimated revenue of $60.3 billion.
"This current regime took over
and, of course, some of the stats had
to be adjusted, so they set the budget
at US$45 a barrel but the expected
revenue is just like the last regime.
So in other words, a lower oil price
but they still set the same revenue.
"This is something to think about.
How can you expect to have the same
level of revenue with lower energy
Birchwood asked whether it was
feasible. On the issue of debt bor-
rowing, he said T&T needed to tread
lightly: "Borrowing is not the answer."
He said T&T s debt was 32 per cent
in 2010 and by September 2015 moved
up to 46.3 per cent. External debt
remained low, as it moved from 8.0
per cent of GDP in 2010 to 9.2 per
cent in September
"Opec is playing a strange game.
Some of its members have large oil
reserves. In order to have the same
level of revenue, simply increase the
volume of oil production. That s a
possibility with Opec but it doesn t
lie with all Opec countries," he said.
"There are others like Venezuela
and Nigeria who are struggling with
the low oil price and who do not have
Birchwood said confidence in oil
investments has been shattered and
economies will struggle when they
do not have foreign direct investment.
"This is the situation right now in
the globe. Many countries are strug-
gling because of the slump in oil
prices, the slump in Chinese economy
and the slump in other major
economies, so all of this is making
foreign direct investment difficult."
Tributes have been pouring in following
the sudden death last week of Lawrence
Placide, director of the T&T Chamber of
Industry and Commerce s International
Trade and Negotiation Unit (ITNU).
The Private Sector / Civil Society Group
(PSCSG) on Public Procurement Reform,
in expressing shock at his unexpected and
untimely passing, described him as a close
collaborator and friend and extended deep-
est condolences to Placide s family, friends,
fellow colleagues and staff.
The group said in a statement: "Larry,
as he was fondly known, was an outstanding
professional in trade, industry and com-
merce and held several portfolios in this
field. Larry represented the T&T Chamber
of Industry and Commerce from inception
in 2003 on the Cabinet appointed com-
mittee on Public Procurement and subse-
quently represented the Chamber on the
PSCSG on Public Procurement from 2007.
Larry was integral to the group in the for-
mulation of position papers and recom-
mendations for the recently partially pro-
claimed Public Procurement and Disposal
of Public Property Act 2015.
"The ever present clarity and rationale
of his contributions to discussions will be
sorely missed. Larry s contribution to
National Development will not be forgot-
PSCSG pays tribute to late Chamber director
Borrowing not the answer
As T&T faces economic slump, lecturer warns:
CONCERN ABOUT WORKS
President of the T&T Contractors
Association (TTCA) Mikey Joseph said
the association is concerned about the
$1.951 billion allocation to the Ministry
of Works and Infrastructure. He said
the ministry has numerous ongoing
projects and those funds may not be
sufficient to support new projects.
At one state agency alone, Joseph
said, the draft total estimate is $2.176
billion and with a further 252.2 million
for consideration in fiscal 2016.
He said the TTCA recognised that
the timeline between the general
election and the requirement to deliver
a fiscal package in Parliament did not
allow the newly-elected administration
enough time to consider proper
strategies for realignment of the
On the reintroduction of the
property tax, Joseph said it was
welcomed and essential.
US Airways flight 1939, the final US Airways flight, departs Philadelphia International Airport en route to Charlotte, NC. All future flights will fly under the American Airlines banner, following
the completion of a merger announced in 2013. PHOTO: THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER VIA AP
LAST FLIGHT FROM PHILLY
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