Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon told Newsday she was very pleased at Friday’s talks with Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore and University of Trinidad and Tobago governor Prof Clem Imbert to promote her ministry’s new $5 million grant-facility to make steel pans.
“We are very excited about it and very happy for the support of Pan Trinbago. We want to ensure TT is the Mecca of pan.”
The minister said she told them of the process to apply for a grant and how applications would be evaluated. “In turn, we rely on their support to interface with the pan-making fraternity.”
Gopee-Scoon said her ministry will issue a call for proposals, from TT nationals who would submit a business plan for producing pan.
Such individuals can include existing pan-makers who wish to improve their production and their processes.
Asked if the grant can be accessed by individuals with an artesian -styled crafting of pans, she replied, “It extends to individuals, those who are in manufacturing and tuning. It also includes pan exporters, and people with pan factories, plus groups of people.” Gopee-Scoon said the grant also extends to individuals who offer training courses in pan. “We are to report to Cabinet in six months time on the progress of the programme. We could make future recommendations. For now we want to ensure it gets off to a good start and that it is equitable.” Gopee-Scoon said the facility is funded to the tune of $5 million. “The grant is up to $250,000 per beneficiary. You can have multiple applicants (for one project), but their total must be no more than $1 million. “The grant is also for training. You might have a pan training course.”
Ramsey-Moore told Newsday the meeting went well with a free and frank discussion. “We in Pan Trinbago are in support of the initiative. We will collaborate and work together, so the manufacturers and small suppliers benefit from the grant.” Asked if $5 million is sufficient funding, she replied that this sum is for the initial start-up, but that after an evaluation is done after the first six months of the project, she expects to see a greater allocation.