TTMA head: Give manufacturers enabling environment

Tricia Coosal, president of the TT Manufacturers Association. - File photo
Tricia Coosal, president of the TT Manufacturers Association. - File photo

RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT of the TT Manufacturers Association Tricia Coosal said the manufacturing sector needs an enabling environment if it is to continue to thrive.

Coosal spoke at the TTMA’s webinar on building business resilience on Tuesday.

“The private sector wants an enabling environment that is transparent and predictable to operate in,” Coosal said. “We are not seeking to curtail competition. However, we want fair competition. We can create a competitive advantage that will allow us to compete globally if our region is to operate optimally in the truest sense of a single market, with factors in place such as free circulation and contingents rights.”

She said the TTMA deepened its partnership with EximBank and disbursed a total of US$239.36 million to a minimum of 120 companies up to December 2021. She said as a result no SME manufacturer under the umbrella of the TTMA said they were closing.

“We at the secretariat consider this a major win for manufacturers in the country, with many companies reverting to their pre-covid export-sales levels,” she said. “This could not have materialised if companies did not have access to FX to source inputs, raw materials, invest in machinery and so on.”

She added that policies were put in place to assist SMEs with loans through Nedco’s MSME stimulus loan programme and emergency relief grant facility.

TTMA also hosted four virtual missions in 2021 which highlighted about 100 members who visited Antigua and Barbuda, Curacao, Grenada and the Dominican Republic.

Coosal added that the TTMA made two leaps of faith in an effort to improve the business environment. One was through meetings hosted by the Caribbean Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) to address issues such as a Cariforum and European Union economic partnership agreement.

“TTMA also sits on two major sub-committees under the National Quality Council and has participated in meetings with these committees on behalf of our membership – all in an effort to improve the business enabling environment,” she said.

The TTMA also focused on securing human resources for future growth last year through collaboration with educational providers including UWI-Roytec and ActionEdge.

“Despite the challenges in programme enrolment due to the impacts of the pandemic, the Education Toolkit was able to successfully roll out over ten modules, training 90 people from the membership,” she said.

Because of these efforts. Coosal said, the TTMA was able to attract 76 new members.

The association intends to continue its advocacy to improve the framework of VAT refunds, and exemption of property tax for plant and machinery. It will also continue to monitor government procurement legislation and the Beverage Container Bill.

Coosal was recently re-elected president of the association.

Dale Parson, CEO of KPL Group Ltd, and Emil Ramkissoon, executive director of New Wave Marketing, were newly elected vice presidents and Josiane Khan, anti-illicit trade manager at West Indian Tobacco Company (Witco), was elected the new corporate secretary.

Clint Villafana and Gary Awai were re-elected as board members, and Gabriell Agostini, chief operating officer of CGA, Andre Jacelon, Bermudez’s commercial general manager, and Navin Dookeran of EximBank were also elected to the board.

Guyana Manufacturing Association president Rafeek Khan gave eight key practices for building business resilience, including diversification, thinking big, identifying strengths and weaknesses, managing failures, not taking criticism personally, innovating, keeping an eye out for new opportunities and building businesses to enter into new markets. He said as small island developing states both TT and Guyana have to be prepared for disasters.

“The two countries that are ideally geographically positioned to work together must realise the crucial role in fostering dialogue, knowledge-sharing and learning between both nations and beyond,” he said.

Calling resilience one of the largest priority areas of partnerships, Khan said investing in partnerships was a direct strategy toward resilient country development, adding that it would bring about sustainable and transformative change for all involved.

“Guyana and Trinidad must work together and invest more in strengthening long-term capacity, looking to governments, civil society and the private sector to build collective resilience.”


"TTMA head: Give manufacturers enabling environment"

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