Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 29th 2014 Contents Pros and cons of subsidies
Hosein argues that while subsidies may
work in advanced economies, it can have a
negative effect in developing societies like
"I will prefer to say that, in my opinion,
that government expenditure could have been
better allocated in some cases. In the literature,
it is well-documented that consumption has
a built-in inertia and so it is difficult to reverse.
In mature economies, a dole system and a
system with a high level of transfers and sub-
sidies may be able to exist as those types of
economies have had a long period of time to
develop. Their network of roads and schools
and hospitals and other hard and soft infra-
structure is already intact," he said.
Subsidies can create a dependency syndrome
which affects productivity levels, Hosein said.
"In relatively newly-independent states such
as T&T, with long queues to get access to
hospital beds, etc, the resources should be
deployed more to create employment and
physical and human capital rather than on
dole-like interventions. Developing economies
need high levels of productivity to provide the
impetus for economic growth and economic
development. Also, because the main com-
modity from which we generate economic
activity is showing distinct signs of maturity,
we need to be more prudent."
Hosein said decline in oil reserves is just
one area that shows T&T needs to diversify
the economy and raise productivity.
"As it stands, the level crude oil production
has fallen from its 1978 perch, and today is
at around the same level as in 1956. The
reserves of gas are also limited, and in a world
in which the technological influence of
hydraulic fracturing have unlocked thousands
of trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in various
places, we need to move wiser than ever before.
Already, we had to hastily shift our exports
of liquefied natural gas away from the United
States market towards the South American
market. This may work for the short run, but
over time, we may need to revisit whether as
an economy we are making the most optimal
use of our gas," he said.
Hosein has now applied for professorship
at UWI, but his journey in the world of aca-
demia has been a long one.
"Growing up was tough, financially, as my
father died when I was very young. I basically
had to drop out of school, although my school
principal at the time in St Benedict s College
La Romaine, Mr Declan Singh---a really great
principal---was really kind to me and assisted
me in many ways so I could still come and
write my O Level exams. Reflecting now, I
admire how discrete he was as he never embar-
rassed me and hardly anyone, except people
like Mr Phekoo, (my mathematics teacher)
knew. Even when I stayed away for long periods,
Mr Singh would send messages and taxi fares
for me to return."
Hosein said when he did not meet the min-
imum number of days to qualify to write exams,
Singh intervened on his behalf.
"We need more principals with a heart for
children like Mr Singh. My grandmother taught
me when life serves you lemons, make lemon-
ade, and I did. I started to catch crabs and
became one of the most prolific crab catchers
in my community. I played cricket and won
the best bowler competition and most allround
player several times."
Even from an early age, Hosein developed
an acumen for economics and business from
"I entered a competition to sell copybooks
hosted by Trinpad Ltd from Marabella, and
won first place in a national competition by
selling over 45,000 copybooks on a wheelbar-
row pushing my way throughout many parts
of south Trinidad. This was how I got money
to go UWI. I was never afraid or intimated.
"The social capital via a dense network of
street friends I developed from playing com-
munity level sports protected me whilst I sold
my books. Like I said, when life serves you
lemons, make lemonade, but keep God in
"I went on to win a scholarship from UWI
to the University of Cambridge in England."
MAY 2014 • WEEK FIVE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG5
His acumen for economics
DR ROGER HOSEIN
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
From Page 4
I won first place in a
national competition by
selling over 45,000
copybooks on a
wheelbarrow pushing my
way throughout many parts
of south Trinidad.
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