Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 13th 2013 Contents A19
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NEW YORK---The price of oil rose one
per cent on Thursday as doubts per-
sisted about a diplomatic resolution to
the crisis in Syria.
US benchmark oil for October delivery
gained $1.04 to close $108.60 a barrel
on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Oil rose as high as $109.16 earlier.
Oil fell $3.14 a barrel on Monday and
Tuesday, the result of diplomatic efforts
to avoid a US strike against Syria. The
US has threatened military action against
President Bashar Assad, whom the US
says is responsible for a deadly chemical
weapons attack against civilians.
On Thursday, there was more skep-
ticism about whether Syria and its ally
Russia could agree with the US on a plan
for Assad s government to turn over its
chemical weapons. (AP)
The Automotive Dealers Association of
T&T Ltd (ADATT) is calling for consultation
on the proposed increase in customs duties
on motor vehicles. The dealers, led by Philip
Knaggs, said there are more questions than
answers so there is need to meet with the
In his 2013/2014 budget presentation on
Monday, Howai announced: "In respect of
the importation of new and foreign used cars
over 2,499 cc, I propose to increase customs
duty by 25.0 per cent with effect from October
1, 2013, on new and foreign used cars over
2,499 cc, excluding T-vehicles and vehicles
registered for use as maxi-taxis."
In its letter to the minister dated September
11, the ADATT said it is committed to open
dialogue on the industry.
"Our organisation is always concerned when
measures affecting our industry are taken
without consultation. In some cases, these
measures could have the desired effect with
minor adjustments that could have been made
"Our door is always open. We remain com-
mitted to open dialogue and hope that your
Government will commit to initiating formal
or informal consultation in the future, before
measures affecting our industry are decided
The association said it would be "unrea-
sonable" to increase the import duties on
vehicles which are en route to T&T.
"Our companies have vehicles in transit to
Trinidad that will arrive after October 1. We
have also committed ourselves to purchasing
specific vehicles that our suppliers have placed
into their strict production schedules over the
coming months. These commitments cannot
be withdrawn, and any attempt to do so would
jeopardise the relationships we have with our
Commenting on the 25 per cent increase,
the group said: "ADATT assumes that the 25
per cent increase is an incremental one that
would increase the existing import duty by a
factor of 25 per cent, rather than increasing
the import duty by 25 percentage points."
Earlier this week Howai said he would wel-
come consultation with the ADATT on the
"We are always open to consultation. I didn t
receive feedback on it so, I certainly would be
prepared to wait and treat with all the legit-
imate concerns of everyone in the industry.
We are certainly most happy to sit and speak
Asked if he planned to move the deadline
from October 1, Howai said: "We ll talk and
decide what we ll do at that stage based on
what is said and our own evaluation of what
the risk it."
Car dealers seek tax delay
Tendering amid awarding of Government
contracts has a new phase of transparency
with the introduction of Tender Notices
Online, Indrani Rampersad, chairman and
director of contracts at the Central Tenders
Board (CTB), announced on Wednesday.
A joint initiative by the CTB and iGovTT,
Tender Notices Online facilitates the posting
of state contracts on the TTConnect portal
in real time, allowing potential bidders to inter-
act efficiently and effectively with government
for government business.
The service will provide an on-line search-
able repository of active and archived gov-
ernment tenders that will allow business oper-
ators access to instant notifications of jobs
posted through news feeds available through
cost free subscriptions.
"It is very important to have this service
so stakeholders can access tender notices pub-
lished by the Central Tenders Board with ease.
It is a service that is very user-friendly and
due to the wide audience, we expect more
bidders. Now, this will have ripple effects and
increase competition and will also upgrade
the quality of productivity, as well as having
more economic efficiency," Rampersad said.
"I am also glad that the award of the con-
tracts will be published on TTConnect. It is
an international best practice in procurement
legislation. The Central Tenders Board grasps
the opportunity to embrace this initiative by
iGovTT. We are also very pleased to state that
there are ongoing discussions regarding future
initiatives of the CTB."
Possible areas for the project s expansion,
she said, include information and communi-
cation technology (ICT), road mapping, tech-
nical planning, change management, advisory
services---which include network architecture
designing, storage services, business advisory
services, process mapping services and project
Rampersad said the areas identified were
in preparatory stage for new procurement leg-
islation: "The initiatives mentioned do not
change when there is a new legislative frame-
work since they promote the principles of
good governance. Transparency, accountability,
integrity and value for money: these buzz
words are critical in any procurement process."
Adam Montserin, chief executive officer,
iGovTT, said the latest Global Competitiveness
Index produced by the World Economic Forum
placed this country in a new and exciting cat-
egory as an innovation-driven economy.
This was something special for the country,
he said, as the country is now competing with
more fiercely-productive, highly-competitive
nations for rankings.
"So it means for us, the demands for us---
our businesses, our Government, our private
sector---to become more connected, even more
with you. If we aren t very serious about it
in the coming year, you are going to see a very
significant decline (in our rankings).
"One of the three dimensions of this inno-
vative-driven pillar is the ability and the quality
of our business network to be set up and
utilised; networks that touch Government and
the private sector. As a matter of fact, the
WEF refers to the quality of a country s busi-
ness network and its supporting industries,
as measured by the quality and quantity of
local suppliers and their interaction with Gov-
ernment to be critical in moving forward in
this area," Montserin said.
He said TTConnect addressed the issue by
providing a platform to create significant effi-
ciencies in networking between Government
and the private sector, which also provides an
opportunity for the Government to advance
the relationship transformation between the
State and citizens.
Montserin said: "Tender Notices Online
takes away from the citizen, the need to have
to understand who is offering what, when,
how and literally fish for information on tenders
that are being offered by Government. It is
now being offered through a one-stop shop.
Although this service may seem simple, it
really is tremendously impactful."
Tender Notices Online offers new phase of transparency
Raye Sandy, left, permanent secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology; with Indrani
Rampersad, chairman, Central Tenders Board; Jacqueline Syms, chairman, iGovTT and Adam
Montserin at the launch of Tender Notices Online. PHOTO: SEAN NERO
Oil rises on doubt for Syria solution
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