In T&T: TTMA: Cause for concern Central Bank’s downgrade of its growth

25 May 2012


While we should always strive to be ahead of the pack, 1% growth may not be all bad when placed within a global context.

THE Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association has noted with concern the Central Bank’s downgrade of its growth forecast for this year from 1.5 per cent to one per cent.

“Central Bank Governor Ewart Williams’ statements that the economy contracted by 2.6 per cent in the third and fourth quarters of 2011, and has experienced three successive years of negative growth, are cause for concern,” the TTMA said in a statement yesterday.

The group said Williams noted that output of the construction and manufacturing sectors was negatively impacted by industrial action at Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL).

He also stated that a lack of private sector investment was contributing to the sub-optimal performance of the economy.

“In spite of the uncertain business climate, the TTMA’s members are re-investing and re-tooling; building their internal capacity to be able to better respond to the demands of the market,” the group said.

“Up to $500 million is planned for investment in new plant and equipment for this year — a clear sign of the optimism of manufacturers,” TTMA president Dominic Hadeed said in the statement.  “Investment in manufacturing capacity enhances our ability to export high quality products and has a multiplier effect throughout our economy.”

The TTMA said it acknowledged Government’s efforts to restore investor confidence, including the creation of an investment promotion agency “InvestTT” and the establishment of a single electronic window for business transactions— TTBizlink.

“However, the efforts to remove obstacles to growth, including regulatory inefficiency, crime and labour productivity need to be continuously addressed and the pace of implementation accelerated. The TTMA believes that the country has the capacity to improve, and targeted initiatives will stimulate the economy and return it to a growth path,” it stated, adding that: “Greater public-private partnerships are needed to create effective support measures and structures for business development.”

The manufacturers said they looked forward to working more meaningfully with the government on other initiatives that will boost private sector development and encourage greater investment in Trinidad and Tobago.

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