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TT facing wealth inequality issue

VERNE BURNETT Friday, February 17 2017

ECONOMIST and chairman of Government’s Economic Advisory Board Dr Terrence Farrell says the country faces several obstacles including income and wealth inequality; corruption and ethnic competition; low productivity; lack of confidence in the private sector; leadership and crime.

Dr Farrell was speaking as a panellist in a seminar titled ‘Optimising your business in the New Normal’, at the headquarters of the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Westmoorings.

The panel was moderated by the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Gabriel Faria and participants were Ronald Hinds, Chief Executive Officer, Teleios Limited and Senior Vice President of the Chamber; Peter George, owner of Trotters and Chairman of Linda’s Bakery and Kama Maharaj, the Chief Executive Officer of Sacha Cosmetics.

George said that despite the talk of a recession in the country there is a tremendous amount of savings in Trinidad and Tobago and what is happening now is that people are going about their business.

He recounted several incidents in which he encountered people spending “normally.” He said the question is how to get that confidence back, suggesting that the solution was to address global instability with global stability.

Recounting the history of the creation of Sacha Cosmetics, Maharaj said that he came from a “beauty” background and recounted that he started Sacha Cosmetics in a recession. He said he observed that local women were having problems to get light colours and that there was a similar need among “multi-cultural” women everywhere which led him to create a global brand locally which he intended to franchise globally over the next five years.

He said he had studied economics abroad and was back in Trinidad teaching in a local school when an American make-up company in this country went bankrupt and he bought it. He said that for at least 25 years, survival was the name of the game.

Hinds spoke about the creation and development of Telios Limited and said he and his partners had built Telios on the basis that it would be built regardless of what the Government did.

Hinds said that he would focus more on services than “things” as what was important.

Dr Farrell interjected that the country needed to increase its exports outside of oil and natural gas to 40 percent by 2040 compared to 15 percent currently. He added that this would have to be accomplished across a broad range of activities with emphasis on services.

‘ He said that innovation is central to the country’s success but said it would be hard because the “mental model” that the country’s politicians, political directorate and even business people and trade unionists have is about producing “things that we could see” whereas in the world that the country is going to thrive and prosper in it is going to be all about services.



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