Mary King

Sometime ago before the budget presentation by the Minister of Finance I wrote an article entitled, “The race to the bottom”. This article presented a scenario for our small, open economy in which the energy sector was unable to provide the rents necessary to fund the imports required by the on-shore sector; to provide the economic activity that with Government employment, occupies some 96 per cent of the workforce.

THE Opposition Leader’s budget response, moreso her party’s manifesto for the upcoming general elections, was far ranging. In particular the plans outlined for development, diversification of the economy, ignore the local characteristics of the private sector to whom she gives the role of being the main driver of economic growth, 

THE emerging digital economy with its range of technologies- robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), massive automation- and its applications- digital platforms, flexible and additive manufacturing- is allowing both high productivity and incomes in associated economies.

The final budget presentation from this Government looms. Though there has been talk by the Government of an economic turnaround—supported by the reports of expected GDP growth by S&P, Moody’s and confirmed by our Central Bank for the first quarter of 2019—this is as a result of an incremental increase in gas production (which appears to be below what was expected) and the income that flows from it.

The final budget presentation from this Government is upon us. Though there has been talk by the Government of an economic turnaround this is as a result of an incremental increase in gas production (which appears to be below what was expected) and the income that flows from it. However, the country will accrue less rents due to the shortfall and reduced global prices of our energy products.

TRINIDAD and Tobago is in a recession; we are short of foreign exchange earnings; our foreign exchange reserves are dwindling; people are being retrenched; firms are closing; local councils are underfunded.

Ansa McAl chairman, Norman Sabga, in the context of the $1 million loss by Guardian Media Ltd., said Facebook, Twitter and other international companies were able to sell media (and other services) in T&T without paying taxes, have no employees on the ground—a huge advantage to them—and when paid, they receive foreign exchange. This undermines the local media houses.

Richard Baumol tells us that the choice of a country’s entrepreneur is among the options of being productive, innovative in the Schumpeter sense, rent seeking (enriching themselves without increasing the wealth of the country), or even destructive via organised crime.

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