Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 29th 2016 Contents A17
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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016
Chairman of the Economic
Development Advisory Board Dr
Terrence Farrell says the business
community is doing little to advance
the welfare of the country and has
even been creating some of the
problems that exist today.
"There is inertia on the part of the
business leaders. The private sector
in T&T has been doing the same
thing, buying and selling and putting
a mark up for the last 200 years.
There is no innovation, they are not
conducting R&D. They are looking
for the best deals they can get from
Japan and China to import to mark
up. That is inertia and poor work
ethic on their part," he said yesterday
at the launch of the 2016-2017 Global
Competitiveness Index Rankings at
the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School
of Business, Mt Hope.
Farrell, who took part in a panel
discussion at the launch, said while
T&T's macro economic problems are
a result of external forces, there are
other issues that can be rectified.
"There is the issue of the rule of
law. Why do our institutions operate
the way they do? What is the way
our criminal justice system operates
that gives us the kinds of results we
have? From the Presidency to the
judiciary to the Parliament to the
Director of Public Prosecution's
Office, all our institutions in this
country are in crisis," he said.
Farrell added that there was no
leadership from the last Central Bank
Governor on the foreign exchange
He explained: "The Central Bank
and Ministry of Finance have failed
to lead the country on the question
of foreign exchange over the last few
years, so that shows up in terms of
the restriction of foreign exchange
affecting the business community,"
He said there were historical rea-
sons for T&T's poor work ethic and
low productivity and not all the
blame should be thrown on work-
"Our executives also have a work
ethic problem. The poor work ethic
we see in the country is as a result
of a certain set of historical circum-
stances that lead workers to behave
in the way they do. It is a result of
historical experiences we have had
a as a people from slavery to inden-
tureship coming up today. Some
people say those things took place
150 years ago but it does matter
today," Farrell said.
T&T fell five places to 94 in the
latest Global Competitiveness Index
Report. Balraj Kistow, lecturer at
the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School
of Business, said this was due to the
decline in the economy and poor
macro economic conditions.
"This year we have seen one major
difference which is in T&T's macro
economic environment. Last year
we were above average in terms of
our macro economy but this year it
was below and it was a major factor
why T&T fell five places," he said.
T&T dropped to 94 out of 138
countries in the report while Switzer-
land was in first place. Jamaica and
Barbados placed higher than T&T
at positions 75 and 72.
The TT dollar is overvalued. RBC econ-
omist Marla Dukharan is recommending
that it be devalued to between $8 to $10 to
Speaking about ways to improve the coun-
try's economic climate during a panel dis-
cussion at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School
of Business yesterday, Dukharan said: "I would
address the foreign exchange situation."
She cited an Economic Commission for
Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
report which said the TT dollar is the single
most over valued currency in the Latin Amer-
ica and the Caribbean, as well as an Inter-
national Monetary Fund (IMF) report which
said the currency was overvalued by 21 per
cent to 50 per cent depending on the model
Dukharan said if a country's currency is
overvalued it affects the overall competitiveness
of its economy.
"We need to fix that from an external com-
petitiveness standpoint but we need to look
at it from the point that there is a trade-off.
We like to say there is a year of import cover.
"The trade-off to that is it means many
businesses cannot access the foreign exchange
they need to run their businesses properly.
That is one of the reasons I think we are slip-
ping and is what the respondents identified
as one of the major deteriorations from last
year to this year," she said.
RBC economist: Devalue dollar
T&T drops in Competitiveness Index
Head of the Economist Development Advisory Board Dr Terrence Farrell, left, makes his contribution to a panel
discussion with Dr Balraj Kistow, lecturer and programme director at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of
business, and RBC Group economist Marla Dukhran at the launch of the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017,
at Mt Hope, yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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