My son Kyle is not a normal boy. This week he took up a teddy bear and hugged it, then brought it to me and ordered, “Hug.”
Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran yesterday called on the business community to stop sitting on the sidelines and start investing in the local economy. “I commend these business leaders for their vote of confidence in the country’s economic prospects, but it is not enough. We need the entire business community to stop watching and commenting on the game from the sidelines,” he said. He was speaking yesterday at a seminar on Competitiveness and Sustainable Development, hosted by the T&T American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham T&T) at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre, St Ann’s.
At the same time he gave a list of projects that he said that have given the economy a lifeline and will inject confidence. He pointed to the $500 million joint venture between Multicinemas Trinidad Ltd and JT Allum Group of Companies to develop the “C3” movie and shopping complex in Corinth, South Trinidad. There is also the ANSA McAL clay plant which costs $400 million, he said. He spoke about a joint venture among Neal & Massy, the Russian firm Severstal International and Meltadom from the Dominican Republic to build a vertically integrated iron and steel complex on Union Estate, La Brea at a cost of US $400 million. He also spoke about Neal & Massy’s project developmental agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals Company and the Government of T&T to construct and operate plants to produce Methanol and Dimethyl-Ether (DME) at Union Estate, La Brea at a cost of US$850 million.
“We are already seeing signs of such confidence. At one end of the business spectrum, small firms have been mushrooming in various clusters around the country including Charlieville, Felicity, Tunapuna, Sangre Grande, Rio Claro and Penal/Debe. Some of these small firms are in retail and distribution. Others are in construction and energy services,” he said. He warned the private sector against over reliance on the state and said the local business community must also play its part in wealth creation.
“We are not the only game in town. I wish to remind you all that, through its monetary policy, the Central Bank, can influence aggregate demand in the economy. But monetary policy cannot solve deeper structural problems or lift the growth potential of the economy,” he said.