Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 19th 2015 Contents NOVEMBER 19 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
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for the disposal of state land. Section 3 makes
it an offence for the regulator to trade with the
Government without the prior approval of each
House. It lays out a procedure for the removal
of the regulator which includes a resolution of
Parliament and the appointment of a tribunal
with mutatis mutandis the power of a Com-
mission of Equity under the COA Act.
A word of caution to Parliament: let us not
over bureaucratise process. Tribunal and com-
missions of enquiry are notoriously expensive,
inefficient and should be avoided.
Section 6 of the amended act also introduces
the concept of a review board which can interalia
review decisions of the regulator. One suggestion
is that the board, given the presence of a retired
judge, and a registered engineer be vested with
the authority to determine the breach by the
regulator and make recommendations to the
president as appropriate including and up to
removal of the regulator. This will be more effi-
cient and more cost-effective. Appeals may lie
thereafter to the high court. Complexity will
only stymie procurement efficiency and add
May I also request that a common-sense
approach (as the Chief Justice described it) be
adopted in procurement to recognise the unique
needs and differences of particular organisations
covered by the act. It must be implemented in
a way that makes commercial sense, preserving
their strategic, competitive agility and advantage,
whilst providing a bedrock of governance. Let
us not delay implementation of this important
People, A Blue Print:
NGC a catalyst
for the sector
A new board has recently been appointed at
The National Gas Company of T&T Ltd (NGC).
There is considerable work to be done to rem-
edy numerous ill-considered initiatives and
poorly conceived projects in the recent past
which will adversely impact the financial results
at NGC in the short term; including 2015. As
a board, we are addressing these professionally
and pointedly. But, we are moving forward!
The NGC Group is aligned around a clear
aspiration to become an integrated international
It will employ a judicious mix of organic
growth, targeted mergers and acquisition activity
and strategic expansion of our participation in
the energy value chain locally and internationally.
The board has commenced a renewed strategic
planning process involving all presidents of the
key subsidiaries of the NGC, PPGPL, National
Energy, NGC CNG, Labidco and the executive
leadership team to agree on a strategic plan
2016-2020 inclusive. This will be done in the
context of a soon to be agreed Gas Master Plan
for the country.
NGC is the key state enabler of the country s
gas-based industry and, by implication, is the
prime mover of the future development of the
sector. Group taxes and dividends yielded his-
torically 16 per cent of government s revenues.
This has reduced considerably in 2014 and
2015. Our immediate mandate must be to restore
and improve this baseline position. It will require
a more integrated group holdings structure,
transformative strategy to catapult the group
into an International integrated energy company.
At the appropriate juncture, and once the strate-
gic planning process is completed more will be
shared with key stakeholders and the national
At group level, the NGC Group directly creates
1,200 skilled jobs annually and approximately
5,000 more through the approximately $250
million spent on third-party goods and services.
Through our subsidiary, National Energy, we
are committed to the development and support
of infrastructure of the energy industry, and the
development of industrial port and related estate
and marine infrastructure.
Current and proposed projects include Berth
2 at the Port of Brighton in La Brea and oper-
ationalisation of Port Galeota. The reconstruction
of Berth 2, which is due for completion in 2017,
will require elaborate and innovative construction
methods to ensure its strength, reliability and
longevity. As construction proceeds, specific
packages will be available to local contractors
to allow you the opportunity to become involved
in national energy infrastructural projects.
Looking into the future, potential port, marine
and infrastructure projects include the devel-
opment of Pier 2 at Port Galeota and the Port
of Brighton for which a master planning exercise
has been completed. National Energy is also
evaluating the development of Point Lisas north,
south and east industrial estates.
At NGC, CNG facilities required will include
conversion stations and CNG Stations. At
PPGPL, a gas refining facility and other projects
are being considered. These multimillion-dollar
projects will offer a strategic pipeline of oppor-
tunities to contractors, engineers, equipment
operators, architects, financiers and operators
in the sector.
The industry must deepen the cadre of qual-
ified, skilled workers in:
• Construction and construction management
of industrial estate
• Port selection, design and supervision
• Pipeline construction
• Quantity surveying
Emphasis and preference will be given to local
content and local contractors. This philosophy
has been espoused and echoed by the Energy
Minister Nicole Olivierre.
We at NGC are also committed to developing
the skills of local contractors to meet the spec-
ifications of the planned and required cadre
over the next decade. This will involve deeper
collaboration with the UWI, NESC, UTT, TTCA
and to deepen training programmes that will
enhance the skills of local work force to accelerate
Strategically, we must look beyond our juris-
diction to the Guyana and Suriname borders.
We will rekindle opportunities in the African
continent. Our sector must become more mobile
as the linking of our construction services to
our Energy sector becomes more pronounced
Putting it simply: as we succeed, you succeed.
As we travel, you travel, Let us move forward
People, A Blue Print:
Daring to change
In law, the definition of insanity is captured
by the McNaughten Rules.
In business, the classical definition is doing
"the same thing and expecting different results."
The CEO of Walt Disney said: "It is in our
best interest to put some of the old rules aside
and create new ones."
We need to put some of the old rules aside:
in the sector.
Large-scale rice farmer, Richard Singh, in the
Sunday Guardian newspaper of November 8,
2015 said: "Lack of labour has been hampering
production and frustrating the farming com-
munity to no end."
This has been ongoing for years. Singh oper-
ates two large rice farms in Plum Mitan and
Tacarigua. Amcham, The Chamber of Com-
merce and the TTMA have repeatedly com-
plained about the lack of labour for the service,
manufacturing and hospitality sectors. Similar
challenges face us in the construction sector as
the country continues to subsidise inefficient,
misaligned make-work programmes. The coun-
try can no longer afford to subsidise MUST,
HYPE, JUMP, CEPEP which are compromising
multiple industries and sectors. I do not advocate
their termination but their urgent graduated,
The country also cannot afford this with a
potential revenue gap of between $4 and $21
billion Let us look at the Canadian model for
immigrant workers and apply it locally.
Impose a maximum graduation period of nine
months in these programmes with KPIs. Insist
on certification and qualification in areas ear-
marked for strategic country development.
MET s, EET s welders, machinists, masons,
fabricators are areas in need of capacity building.
Embed technical and vocational education at
the secondary school. Develop a national pro-
gramme with the UTT, UWI, NESC, TTCA and
other relevant stake holders for certifying trades-
men (annually or bi-annually) from painter to
carpenter from joiner to air condition technicians.
The industry needs standards and will only
survive on consistent quality. Transformative
change requires courage to rationalise CEPEP
and other make-work programmes even as
TTCA and the industry drive standards and
I believe the industry must drive the latter
with government supporting through the intro-
duction of a contractor registration and licensing
programme and a lien act to provide financial
enforcement. Let s put aside some of the old
Colleagues and government, as we move to
improve our buildings infrastructure, we need
a building code. Let us not wait for natural dis-
aster. Let us give the committee a budget to
finalise its work and a time frame within which
to do it.
My final comment relates to the illegal quar-
rying and mining which has led to sector infla-
tion, shortage of aggregate and vital raw material
for block manufacturers in the sector, loss of
value for home owners.
Quite simply, it is a racket played out in the
full glare of the industry over which National
Quarries and the Ministry of Energy have not
been able to get a handle as a few unscrupulous
individuals and companies have profited in their
Local companies, when granted acreage, can-
not mine these acreages six and seven years
later, despite the seeming support of state agen-
cies and the ministry. It is either CEC, Town
and Country approval or the final license that
prevents their ability to mine the acreage. Mean-
while, hundreds of millions of dollars in plant
and equipment produce at less than optimum
capacity because of inadequate supply. I am
confident that the industry will support you.
The mining sector requires overhaul and better
regulation. This includes the ministry, National
Quarries , EMA and the intervention of the
My comments are not meant to be political
but in the national interest. Country first! My
address has embraced three major themes:
(a) the economic environment and the need
for legislative and policy changes
(b) the NGC vision
(c) the pivotal role of the construction sector
in transforming T&T
(d) deliberate accelerated reduction of wide-
spread, unaffordable subsidies and transfers
replaced by targeted training and development
opportunities to catapult our country on a path
to sustainable development.
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric,
"A leader in any sphere focuses on shaping
tomorrow. Learn from it but do not waste a
moment on it. Get on with tomorrow."
Shaping a sustainable tomorrow for our indus-
try and country will require disruptive thinking.
It demands that we address the pain points
of our industry and craft new edgy, uncom-
fortable recommendations. It will require the
support of the Opposition. It will require courage
and integrity which is in short supply in our
Let us move away from slick answers and
clichéd language to confronting issues and
responding maturely and decisively. I give you
the assurance as chairman of NGC that will be
my continuing mantra and philosophy.
Towards a sustainable tomorrow
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