Dr Dillon Alleyne, Deputy Director, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Port-of-Spain attributes T&T’s low economic growth in 2019 to low energy prices and the closure of businesses.
ECLAC projected that T&T’s economy will grow by 0.4 percent in 2019 and 1.5 percent in 2020.
“Part of the problem is the global environment is not very good for growth for economies like T&T that depends heavily on the hydrocarbon sector. Although there has been growth in the non-oil sector it is not yet sufficient to bring the economy along. There have been many closures of firms and companies and may very well impact on uncertainty,” he told the Business Guardian yesterday.
When asked what accounts for the projection of the improved economic performance in 2020, Alleyne said there is the belief that energy prices will rise next year.
“Also, the non-oil sector would also begin to take root and hopefully there will be no more closures from the point of view of significant firms and enterprises.”
He said that T&T must continue to look at new ways to diversify its economy.
“It continues to be a very, very important way of getting out of this challenge.”
He added that this is a difficult time for T&T’s economy as public spending is restrained and transforming the economy will take a long time.
Alleyne also advised the Government that it must inform the country that economic transformation is not an overnight process.
He pointed to regional countries like Guyana with high economic growth and advised that T&T can benefit from investment in that economy.
“This can be in terms of absorbing labour. T&T has acquired tremendous expertise over time and I would say that T&T can see Guyana as an opportunity to jump start its own economic performance.”
Yesterday, Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary, ECLAC presented ECLAC’s latest regional economic report on the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean.
According to ECLAC’s Preliminary Overview forecasts, in 2019 the country with the greatest expansion will be Dominica (9.0 percent), followed by Antigua and Barbuda (6.2 percent), the Dominican Republic (4.8 percent) and Guyana (4.5 percent).
Economist, Dr. Indera Sagewan who spoke at the ECLAC presentation yesterday said that countries like Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada have high growth rates because they are placing emphasis on the services sector like tourism and financial services.
She said that T&T must learn from these countries as the days of its oil and gas economy are numbered.