Gopee-Scoon: TT has food stability

Paula Gopee-Scoon - Angelo Marcelle
Paula Gopee-Scoon - Angelo Marcelle

TRADE Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said TT has food stability.

She was speaking at Monday's Health Ministry covid19 media conference.

She recalled in March she announced the country had 2-3 months supply of food with another two months "on the water" and orders on hand.

"The food imports, the basic needs imports, have been pretty robust. So things have been coming in."

She said the ministry was aware of the challenges in some countries regarding basic supplies, but the ministry has been doing the risk analysis by product and monitoring closely. She reported some members of the private sector have had to look at alternative supply chains and that would have resulted in some minor price increases.

Gopee-Scoon said one product for example was grains and because of the challenge to access it from a particular source many importers had to go to an alternative supplier and to an agent. She explained that this caused the price of some bean items to go up.

"So that's the kind of challenges that we have had in terms of supply. But our importers, they really had their shoulders to the wheel and where they have seen shortages they have in fact made other arrangements and gone to other sources of supply."

She said the ministry's risk analysis continued daily by product to ensure food security.

"I can say with all certainty that there is food stability in this country."

She pointed to the work being done by the Agriculture Ministry and farmers. She also said that consumers have a responsibility to do their own small agricultural production and contribute to food stability. She reported that the sectors being looked at to advance the economy included manufacturing and agriculture.

Gopee-Scoon said the borders were never closed for trade so there were goods entering and leaving the country and the ports were operational.

She was also asked about the country's ease of doing business and she said TT was not in a good place and reiterated the ranking of 105 out of 190 (on the World Bank ranking) was "not good enough." She said, however, through the single electronic window there has been a focus on "e-business" and dealing with the ten indicators under the World Bank Doing Business Report, which the country is measured by.

"And we are going to be measured pretty soon."

Gopee-Scoon said there has been some progress including through DevelopTT, the platform for getting a construction permit, which has reduced the wait time from 270 days to 38 days. She added the country must move from e-business to e-government, and move to a "digital economy" as the Prime Minister has said.


"Gopee-Scoon: TT has food stability"

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