Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 18th 2016 Contents FEBRUARY 18 • 2016 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
VERBITAM | BG11
Port-of-Spain, February 2016:
Creating sustainable, economic
growth in T&T will require a
collective effort from the State
and private sector, but with
both sides prepared to adapt
to a changing role, a group of
business leaders has concluded.
During a lively discussion at a landmark
roundtable organised locally by the global pub-
lishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford
Business Group (OBG), participants agreed
that the State should assume the role of enabler
rather than trying to compete with the private
sector as the main engine of growth. However,
neither should businesses rely on the Gov-
ernment for revenue, they added, rather their
focus should be on boosting exports.
Titled, Establishing Synergies and Strategies
towards Economic Transformation and Sus-
tainability, the roundtable---which took place
in early February---brought together high-pro-
file representatives from across the economic
sectors to discuss a broad range of topical
issues affecting the twin-island country.
Attendants included Ronald Harford, chair-
man of Republic Bank; Wendell Mottley, con-
sultant and former chairman of Unit Trust
Corporation; Ravi Tewari, Group CEO of
Guardian Holdings; Gervase Warner, CEO of
Massy Group; and Aneal Maharaj, group
finance director of ANSA McAL.
At the event, business leaders called for a
change of mindset "to come from the top."
"The government of T&T shouldn t be afraid
that it s losing control; instead it should lead
by example," was one of the key messages.
Participants agreed that unleashing private
capital as a means of supporting government
initiatives, creating competition and measuring
productivity were essential steps towards
achieving sustainable growth.
The issue of what T&T can do to nurture
a broader, export-driven economy when faced
with the constraints of the country s debt-
to-GDP ratio was also on the agenda. Partic-
ipants looked at whether outsourcing could
play a part in reducing government spending.
Challenges relating to the workforce were also
discussed, with talks ranging from retraining
employees in preparation for a more diverse
economy to the part that importing labour
could play in boosting productivity.
The roundtable also shone a spotlight on
the contentious topic of foreign exchange.
Participants agreed that "there is a lack of
confidence in the current set-up." Curbing
damaging forex leakages should be a priority,
they concluded, along with finding a remu-
nerative home for local capital. "Monetary
policy communication is critical for confidence
and, it follows, also for private investment,"
was the message.
While the talks were held behind closed
doors at the British High Commissioner s res-
idence in Port-of-Spain, Marco Binenti, OBG s
editorial manager in T&T, said that the findings
would be used as the basis for further, off-
the-record discussions and research for the
group s forthcoming report.
Binenti added that the difficult economic
environment had heightened both the need
and demand for dialogue between public and
private sector leaders.
"As an oil-rich nation that remains at the
early stages of diversifying its economy, T&T
has been hit hard by declines in oil and gas
revenues," he said.
"Our roundtable provided an unprecedented
and valuable opportunity for high-level players
from across the board to share their views on
what the country can do to balance tackling
the deficit and stimulating growth. I have no
doubt that these contributions will provide
useful food for thought as the country navigates
its challenging path towards recovery and
Majo Rosa, OBG s country director for the
country, said the "incredibly productive" debate
had indicated a will amongst industry players
to make improving investor confidence a pri-
"While participants agreed that difficult
decisions would have to be made, there was
a sense that change is imminent in T&T," she
"I m delighted that so many representatives
joined us to begin this important conversation
and suggest ideas that could form part of
Many of the issues on the agenda at the
roundtable will be further explored in The
Report: T&T 2016, Oxford Business Group s
forthcoming publication on the country s econ-
The publication will be a vital guide to the
many facets of the country, including its
macroeconomics, infrastructure and other
sectoral developments. It will be available in
print and online.
About Oxford Business Group
Oxford Business Group (OBG) is a global pub-
lishing, research and consultancy firm, which pub-
lishes economic intelligence on the markets of the
Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America and
the Caribbean. Through its range of print and online
products, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate
analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral develop-
ments, including banking, capital markets, insurance,
energy, transport, industry and telecoms.
The critically acclaimed economic and business
reports have become the leading source of business
intelligence on developing countries in the regions
they cover. OBG's online economic briefings provide
up-to-date in-depth analysis on the issues that
matter for tens of thousands of subscribers world-
wide. OBG's consultancy arm offers tailor-made
market intelligence and advice to firms currently
operating in these markets and those looking to
Republic Bank chairman Ronald Harford, left, with former government minister, Wendell Mottley, as Guardian Holdings CEO, Ravi Tewari, EY's Caribbean chairman, Colin Soo Ping Chow and CEO
of the Energy Chamber Thackwray Driver review documents.
State should not compete
with private sector---OBG forum
Oxford Business Group
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