Efforts to Broaden Trinidad and Tobago’s Economy Take Centre Stage In Oxford Business Group’s 2016 Report

Launch debate highlights need for sustainable growth built on firm foundations

Launch debate highlights need for sustainable growth built on firm foundations

Trinidad and Tobago Launch Event

Trinidad and Tobago Launch Event

Trinidad and Tobago Launch Event

Trinidad and Tobago Launch Event

OBG’s report was launched this week at the Hyatt Hotel Port of Spain, followed by a panel debate exploring the theme of ‘establishing a strong foundation for sustainable economic growth’.

The event was attended by more than 120 high-profile representatives from across the public and private sectors, with keynote speeches by the minister of trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon, and Andrew Jeffreys, OBG’s CEO and editor-in-chief. Marla Dukharan, Caribbean Banking group economist, Royal Bank of Canada, moderated the panel comprising Orville D. London, chief secretary, Tobago House of Assembly; Nigel Baptiste, president and CEO, Republic Financial Holdings; Gerry Brooks, chairman, National Gas Company; Gervase Warner, president and group CEO, Massy Group; and Tomás Bermudez, country representative, Inter-American Development Bank.

Topics on the agenda included what local companies could do to extend their reach on the international stage and the importance of ensuring that the country's future financing needs are met. Participants also discussed which economic sectors appeared ripe for growth and what could be done to support their expansion.

Commenting after the launch, Jeffreys said the discussion had provided a welcome opportunity for participants to assess the challenges that businesses in Trinidad and Tobago currently face and the opportunities that a period of transition is already generating.

He added that while the economic climate remained tough, a recent OBG survey of CEOs in Trinidad and Tobago aimed at gauging business sentiment had delivered positive responses to key questions.

“The economic climate remains challenging for businesses. However, our data showed that many CEOs are using the current period of slower growth to not only take stock, but also gear up for future expansion,” Jeffreys said. “With significant buffers, a competitive edge and a reform agenda that has produced a favourable response from international analysts, we’re confident that Trinidad and Tobago offers grounds for cautious optimism.”

The Report: Trinidad and Tobago 2016 looks at  how the country’s competitive advantages and sound economic fundamentals have helped it weather lower oil and gas prices.

The publication also explores the new government’s plans for further boosting growth in tourism, which include improving infrastructure, transport connectivity and services.

OBG’s report contains a separate chapter on Tobago, highlighting the island’s significant capacity for broad-based expansion in areas such as construction and manufacturing, as well as an interview with the chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly.

In addition, OBG’s publication explores the challenges facing Trinidad and Tobago’s government, which are led by ongoing forex problems and concerns about how to boost the country’s manufacturing sector.

The Report: Trinidad and Tobago 2016 contains interviews with Prime Minister Keith Rowley and Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon, together with a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors. It also features contributions from key business leaders including president & CEO of Republic Financial Holdings, Nigel Baptiste, chairman of National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Gerry Brooks, regional president of BP Norman Christie, Associated Brands Executive Chairman Arthur Lok Jack, and many others.

The Report: Trinidad and Tobago 2016 marks the culmination of more than six months of field research by a team of analysts from Oxford Business Group. The publication assesses trends and developments across the economy, including macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. It has been produced with InvesTT, with contributions also made by Republic Financial Holdings Ltd, Aegis Business Solutions, J.D. Sellier and Bourse Securities. The publication is available online and in print.