Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 7th 2014 Contents A15
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LONDON---Britain s Treasury chief
offered a dampened view of the econ-
omy on Monday, warning that substan-
tial savings must be gleaned from wel-
fare cuts if the country is to eliminate
The British economy has been enjoying
a stronger recovery than most European
countries, but George Osborne noted
there are still big underlying problems.
He said 2014 is to be the "year of hard
truths" and that the country faces a
"Do we say: the worst is over; back
we go to our bad habits of borrowing
and spending and living beyond our
means---and let the next generation pay
the bill ?" he said.
Osborne told workers at a Birmingham
company that supplies auto components
that billions of pounds in welfare cuts
will be needed to reduce the deficit, which
was swollen by the economic crisis.
The government deficit dropped to 5.2
per cent of gross domestic product in
the 2012-2013 fiscal year, from 7.6 per
cent in the previous one. (AP)
UK Treasury chief to order more spending cuts
T&T has been ranked among the best places in Latin
America for the economic freedom it offers to foreign
In the 2013 Economic Freedom of the World (EFW
ranking T&T ranks 79th out of the 152 countries and ter-
ritories for economic freedom. It scored 6.95 out of a
possible ten points---above the worldwide average of
6.83---across five identified key measures that comprise
The components included how well a country protects
the rights of private property ownership, whether it exer-
cises fair and consistent enforcement of contracts, the
stability of its monetary environment, rate of taxation,
barriers to domestic and international trade and degree
of reliance on government spending.
Among South American countries, only Chile, Peru
and Uruguay ranked ahead of T&T in overall economic
freedom. In the whole of Latin America, Brazil and Mexico,
together comprising almost two-thirds of South America s
GDP, placed low on the overall EFW index at 102 and
94, respectively. Argentina, with the second-largest GDP
in South America, was ranked only 137th out of 152 coun-
tries and territories. And Venezuela placed last among
the countries that were ranked. A total of 42 distinct
variables were included in the measurements.
The EFW report has been compiled annually for 25
years by Canadian think-tank, the Fraser Institute. The
Institute s goal is to identify the countries where, across
the board, it s easiest to do business with the fewest
The Institute s tracking over decades has shown that
a country s degree of economic freedom exerts a profound
impact on its economic prosperity across several categories.
Political and civil liberties are considerably higher in eco-
nomically free nations, an indicator that affects the stability
of foreign direct investment (FDI). Of perhaps greatest
significance for FDI is that countries with more economic
freedom have notably higher per-capita incomes. In the
case of T&T, it ranked third highest of 13 Caribbean coun-
tries in 2012 with GDP per capita at US$18,010.
T&T placed a strong fifth in its regulatory environment
ranked against the other 20 Caribbean and Latin American
countries examined. The ranking considered the labour
market, credit market and business regulation. In freedom
of international trade, T&T was ranked eighth in the
Latin American and Caribbean region.
The EFW report also indicates that foreign direct
investors in Trinidad can be confident of protection and
fairness, thanks to the country s legal system and its con-
sistent recognition of property rights. T&T ranked higher
than more than half of the 21 Latin American and
Caribbean countries surveyed in this regard.
T&T also performed well among countries worldwide.
It placed in the top 40 per cent for the degree to which
free markets (rather than government controls) guide
access to its resources. Components examined within the
category included government consumption as a share
of total consumption, taxation rates, and the extent to
which private investment and enterprise were used (rather
than government investment) to direct resources. (InvesTT)
T&T gets high
TT Securities Exchange Commission chairman, Patrick Watson, left, shakes hands with Central Bank governor Jwala
Rambaran after signing the memorandum of understanding at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. At centre is Trade
Minister Vasant Bharath. PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
SECURITIES MOU SIGNED
The oil spill on Trinidad s south west-
ern coastline has not affected the overall
economy of the country, Trade Minister
Vasant Bharath said yesterday.
"I do not think the oil spill will have an
effect on the economy. Clearly how we
deal with it is an issue from an environ-
mental perspective, if the world is looking
on then we have got to show there is effi-
ciency and effectiveness in how we deal
with it and putting measures in place to
ensure something like this does not happen
again," he said.
Bharath, who is acting as Minster of
Finance, spoke about the issue at the offi-
cial signing of a memorandum of under-
standing between the T&T Securities
Exchange Commission (SEC) and the
Central Bank at the Hyatt Hotel, Port-of-
"In terms of how much oil has been
lost and how much oil we produced, it
is an insignificant amount," he said, adding
that Government is doing everything in
its power to contain the problem.
"We have utilised all the resources we
have. We have imported other resources
from the US and they are working as
quickly as they can to clean it up. I am
not sure if Petrotrin is overwhelmed, they
are working as quickly as they can with
the resources they have got," the minister
Bharath said it has not reached the
point where investors are expressing con-
cern: "Clearly people are looking at how
the situation is being resolved and quickly
it is being dealt with and looking at the
cause of it. That is what the audit is about,
to understand where the source of it is
without jumping to too many presump-
tious conclusions. Clearly we have a lot
of work to do."
He said it would take a long while before
the entire oil spill is cleaned up.
"It is a process they have to go through
and unfortunately it takes time. It is regret-
table that so many people s lives have
been affected by it. It has happened and
we have just got to deal with it," he said.
On the topic of crime and the high
murder rate so early in the year, Bharath
said that has not scared away investors.
"There are many countries across the
world that are still attracting investors
despite high crime rate and Colombia is
one of them," he said.
Bharath said the problem of crime did
not develop overnight.
"We have been grappling with this for
several years. There are cultural issues,
issues that must be tackled at the primary
school level. Those measures will take
time to put in place."
Bharath: Oil spill not
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