President of the TT Manufacturers Association (TTMA) Christopher Alcazar believes it will take some time for the economy to show signs of an improvement this year.
Alcazar said the reason for his “positive outlook” was that despite economic stagnation, macro-economic fundamentals, for the most part continued to be favourable. He said unemployment was still relatively low, inflation remained manageable, the exchange rate was not out of hand and interest rates were stable.
He said these favourable macro-economic fundamentals were positives which should not be underestimated.
“Businesses work best in an environment that is predictable, consistent, reliable and transparent. These are important prerequisites for businesses to continue to invest and expand operations.
But, he said, “Are these fundamentals by themselves enough to allow for growth and development? The simple answer is no. “The association is of the opinion that there is a need for the Government to foster the appropriate climate, which would restore confidence for all, not just business, but its citizenry, tourists, buyers, investors and manufacturers alike.”
Alcazar said, given the small, vulnerable nature of the economy, there would always be a significant role for the Government to play through policy decisions and decision-making at the Government agency level in shaping the outcome.
Therefore, he said, the TTMA continues to hold the view that it is imperative in 2018 for the Government to engage in meaningful, thought-provoking and dynamic governance.
“Where they lead and create direction, the rest of the economy will follow. We cannot continue to depend on the ‘invisible hand’ to chart our national destiny where, as pronounced by many free-trade theorists, the demand and supply, with no Government intervention, is what will determine the fate of our economy.”
He said TTMA is confident TT’s current national economic reality can be successfully addressed once the government, labour and business communities work together to move forward in the nation’s best interest.
Alcazar said, as an association, the TTMA’s wish list for 2018 remained consistent and the manufacturing community was willing and ready to take on the diversification challenge within the economy.
He said, in these challenging times, it was imperative for both labour and Government to work side by side with the TTMA, to accept the current reality and collaborate to chart the way through turbulence to stable ground.
“The TTMA remains resolute in our hope for a brighter future for TT. We believe that we do have a blessed country and we are prepared to work with all interested parties to ensure that prosperity and growth can be had by all.”