Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has been ordered to rest after spending yesterday afternoon at the Cross Crossing Medical Centre, San Fernando, due to a high blood sugar level.
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NFM profit increases 150 per cent
Trade Minister Vasant Bharath yesterday praised the board, management and union at National Flour Mills’ Ltd (NFM) for its remarkable turn around. The state enterprise recorded an after tax profit of $21 million for 2013 after years of decline. “It is unusual that a minister can pronounce that a state enterprise has actually been profitable in the last 12 months.
Over the years we have seen declining profits, we have seen declines in share price, we have seen decline in the loss of profits,” said Bharath, a former CEO of the company. “That is nothing spectacular for a state enterprise. It’s the tribute to management, to the board, and to the union that they have been able to make this remarkable turn around from adjusted profits last year of $8 million which is an increase of over 150 per cent.”
The minister, who spoke at the release of NFM's audited results for 2013 at the state company’s boardroom, in Port-of-Spain, said there are not many companies in today’s competitive world that can boast of such a performance. “This is the case, not only in T&T, but globally when one considers what happened in 2008 since the crisis in markets across Europe, the US and Asia.
There are very few enterprises that can boast of making profits of around 150 per cent over their previous years and even less state enterprises can make that boast,” he said. Bharath said food prices constitute the largest portion of daily expenditure on a daily basis: “We have sent signals to the market through the removal of VAT on 7,000 items and our continued efforts to grow more food that the cost of food is very important for the Government.
“Taxpayers have been fearful that they have had to fund the inefficiencies of state enterprises. If we can tell the public that NFM and other state enterprises understand profitability then that notion would be eradicated from people's minds.” The minister said the NFM is “coming to the reality” of doing business in the modern world.
“I am not going to be able to go to Caricom year after year and get protection for our flour from external competition from outside the Caricom region. Those are the realities. The only way to protect jobs is through efficiencies,” he said. NFM's earnings per share increased by 60 per cent from 10 cents in 2012 to 16 cents last year. The company’s year on year results show an increase in restated comprehensive income from $8 million in 2012 to $21 million in 2013.