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Changing the Tide

Thursday, April 20 2017

The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce has repeatedly highlighted the need for dialogue and collaboration to stave off much of the negative effects of the current economic downturn. Effective leadership plays a key role in determining how we survive – and whether we thrive as a country. So too, do the actions of every one of us as citizens impact upon our future as an independent nation.

Trinidad and Tobago has suffered major setbacks as a consequence of our difficult economic circumstances.

The government has been left with little choice other than to scale back on expenditure, leading to decreased budgetary votes for many ministries, closure of some units and a compressed Public Sector Investment Programme by approximately two billion dollars, when compared to 2016.

In the private sector, businesses face a chronic shortage of much needed foreign exchange.

Reputational damage becomes an issue, as payments for goods and services are delayed time and again.

Job losses have also been increasing as plants shut down, thereby terminating employment for hundreds of workers.

Only recently we suffered a blow with the loss of the opportunity to construct the bpTT Angelin Platform locally. A missed prospect such as this one, particularly in a strained environment, can invariably lead to a number of social consequences; these range from increased crime to physical and mental ill health, fractured family relationships and even the disappearance of small enterprises.

What all of this is signalling is that we can no longer operate as if it were “business as usual”. With our investment attractiveness on the wane, the time has come to recalibrate our minds and make a cultural shift in our individual and collective behaviour. Our country’s future sustainability and our own well-being depends on it.

Our less than acceptable attitude towards labour productivity, our work ethic and our sense of entitlement with respect to government support must become remnants of the past. Over the years, these have all influenced our competitiveness or lack thereof – leading to consistently low rankings in global competitiveness indices. Taking stock is critical, lest we do permanent damage to our investment prospects and ultimately the quality of life we enjoy.

The TT Chamber firmly believes that as Trinidadians and Tobagonians each of us is fully capable of using our tremendous resourcefulness, creativity and resilience in turning our nation into an exemplary one. The choice is ours, to do the right thing, right now.



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