Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM TT) Nirad Tewarie said that Government should have a clear and transparent process for any company when they are allowed to open.
He said reopening too soon can have negative economic implications which would hurt the economy. His main concern at the moment, however, is the number of tests being done.
He said Government should take a look at isolation, which does not have to be done away at a facility, but could be in a separate room such as a basement as was done with CNN’s Chris Cuomo. He added that technology could be used to ensure that persons follow the right self-isolation guidelines at home.
He added that ramping up of testing will help us identify and eradicate any clusters and prevent the spread of the virus.
Tewarie said that more Government engagement and support for businesses, “is not where it should be”. He said he does not believe that the Government is listening to what several business organizations have suggested.
He said Government should work with businesses directly as 55% of companies had to reduce staff in order to survive during the pandemic.
He said while the Government has made overtures, such as the deferrals for the banks and financing of Credit Unions on soft low interest loans, more could be done.
He said there while there will be some element of job loss post Covid-19, he gave the Government high marks for the handling of the pandemic.
However, more attention needs to be paid to the situation in Point Lisas where companies in the petro-chemicals sector are closing their plants. Tewarie said if they are allowed to close, this could have irreversible effects on the economy.
To date, Proman, Methanex, YARA and Nutrien Ltd have either closed or shuttered their plants as they try to manage the economic downfall due to the Covid 19 pandemic.