Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 16th 2013 Contents Economists and financial experts believe Caribbean
nations should take steps to prudently manage their
This follows the release of the International Mon-
etary Fund (IMF) February 2013 report, which pre-
dicted growth would increase to 3.5 per cent in 2013.
In its reaction, the Caribbean Development Bank
(CDB) has already taken steps to ensure it stimulates
growth in the Caribbean. The bank plans to provide
assistance in framing policy and not just lending
funds to Caribbean territories.
Acting chief economist at the CDB Carl Howell
said there is a need for the bank to identify industries
which are new or relatively new and are expected to
become important in the future. These types of indus-
tries are known as "sunrise industries."
"It is really about helping countries to formulate
policies to build fiscal buffers and to essentially
undergo development policy. That s where we are
adding value. It is moving away from the truncational
sort of investment lending to trying to talk more in
the policy space: how do we look to those policies
that could deliver greater dividends?" he said.
Howell was speaking to the Business Guardian fol-
lowing the opening session of the Caribbean Growth
Forum, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad
hotel last week.
Expanding on how it would work, Howell said:
"You buttress the lending with a policy conversation
about growth, looking at policy reforms that could
drive the growth agenda, so it s really a mixture of
policies, softer policies, as well as investment lend-
Howell said T&T has strong fiscal buffers and "it
sits in a good place", which means T&T can do more.
He warned T&T should not take this lightly.
"It s not a safe haven, T&T still has a lot more
work to do, but you re not as fiscally exposed as other
countries in the Caribbean. If you look at debt levels,
they are relatively comfortable, if you look at your
Heritage and Stabilisation Fund, it has good reserves,
but you should not rest on your laurels, T&T has to
look for those sunrise industries as well given where
your hydrocarbons are going," Howell said.
Indera-Sagewan-Alli, executive director of the
Caribbean Centre for Competitiveness, said she sup-
ports the IMF s call to take advantage of favourable
external conditions to lay the grounds for sustained
growth by strengthening its policy buffers.
She believed the IMF is trying to encourage
Caribbean nations to manage their economies in a
more prudent manner.
"The IMF is putting forward their traditional argu-
ment that lending should be tied into nations man-
aging their economies in a more prudent manner. It
is a good thing, especially where you have a lot of
smaller economies, where their debt situation is well
over 100 per cent of their gross domestic product."
The real issue, she said, is the capacity to generate
"It s so bad at this point in time. The Government
is the major player in town in terms of employment
generation. The question is to what extent the Gov-
ernment can really cut expenditure, so the focus has
to be on prudent management on dealing with cor-
ruption, dealing with accountability and transparency
in public procurement so that you get better bang
for your buck."
Unless the global economy changes, Caribbean
nations will not see change.
"We are not seeing the development of real plans
and robust analysis followed by implementation that
can make it happen. This is true for the entire region,
including T&T. We are luckier because we have still
have revenue from oil and gas."
Sagewan-Alli added: "T&T is in a good position
because we continue to have a relatively strong energy
sector, our debt to GDP ratio is very low, but when
you look at economies like Jamaica and Barbados---
countries in the OECS---they are in dire straits."
Dr Ronald Ramkissoon:
Ronald Ramkissoon, senior economist, Republic
Bank Ltd, said: "Choices with respect to fiscal adjust-
ment, such as tax increases, must be carefully con-
sidered to ensure they do not engender further con-
traction, but, in fact, help to promote growth."
He said a comprehensive growth strategy is badly
needed for Caribbean nations. Ramkissoon referred
to the section on growth and competitiveness in the
report where IMF noted labour costs are high in the
Caribbean, in part, reflecting a high degree of union-
isation, and have grown faster than productivity.
"My preference is for tying high labour costs to
much higher productivity, but it may take time,"
Regarding debt restructuring, Ramkissoon said
Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and St Kitts/Nevis
have succeeded in restructuring their debt.
He said: "Other countries are likely to follow this
path, but they must move quickly to deal with this
problem that has been allowed to worsen."
Given that Caribbean states have been known to
act independent of each other and not on a united
front when it comes to issues affecting the region,
Ramkisson said: "Caribbean states are at a juncture
where they can no longer ignore the challenges or
the IMF recommendations without rapid descent
into some state of disorder."
"Governments and other groups must engage their
populations in honest discussions about the difficult
choices that have to be made. Countries would have
to overcome important physical political economy
constraints to collaborate with the fund in such a
difficult adjustment exercise."
MAY 2013 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG11
IMF: Region needs to
push growth, borrow less
IMF predicts 3.4%
growth for region
In its outlook and policy priorities, the IMF
report stated: "Financial sector vulnerabilities
still need to be addressed. Deteriorating
asset quality, inadequate provisioning and
low profitability have put the financial sys-
tem under stress in much of the Eastern
Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). Several in-
digenous banks and systemically important
credit unions need to be resolved to avoid
contagion while containing associated fiscal
"In the Caribbean commodity-exporting
economies, growth is expected to be about
3.5 to four per cent during 2013--14.
"The key near-term challenge is to contain
the rapid growth in domestic demand, which
continues to outpace output growth. As in
the case of other commodity exporters,
greater fiscal efforts are needed to rebuild
The Point Lisas-based
Process Management Ltd's
(PML) control valve repair fa-
cility has become the second
Fisher Authorised Service
Provider (FASP) in Latin
PML is the local business
partner for Emerson Process
Management and the
provider of process automa-
tion, instrumentation and
asset reliability solutions in
T&T, Barbados and Suriname.
The company's managing
director Anthony Maingot
said in a statement: "Our 18-
year-old organisation is proud
of the FASP designation and
particularly proud of our local
service personnel who helped
make it a reality. Our cus-
tomers, too, welcome these
expanded resources, which
will help them meet increas-
ingly high operational stan-
dards and ensure improved
uptime at their facilities."
FASP is an accreditation
that a third-party provider (in
this case, PML) has met the
Fisher business unit's stan-
dards for control valve and in-
strument repairs, trained and
certified people to provide
those services, and invested
in a facility that has passed
the required safety and qual-
ity audits. Becoming a FASP
requires a local business part-
ner to make major invest-
ments in employees, tools,
test equipment, and other re-
sources that will help them
meet customer needs. He
said the top three industries---
petrochemical, oil and gas and
power---are also growing and
many plants are within 15
minutes of their facility.
The PML statement said
specific resources at the facil-
• Two valve test units for
hydro and leak tests. One
bench can handle NPS 12,
ANSI 600# valves, which rep-
resent 80 per cent of normal
testing requirements. Larger
valves will be individually
flanged and tested as needed.
• A wide variety of OEM
Fisher parts are available to
support plant turnarounds
and emergency require-
• A customer training
room, where certified instruc-
tors will conduct control valve
engineering and FIELDVUE
instrument classes two or
three times a year.
• And 28 dedicated service
employees, including five sen-
ior repair technicians.
In the statement, Maingot
added: "We made this invest-
ment to clearly differentiate
our service capabilities, to im-
prove our quality manage-
ment systems, and to grow
the maintenance and repair
business in our territory."
Dr Ronald Ramkissoon
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