Selby Wilson led the country’s economic restructuring during one of our country’s darkest moments as Minister of Finance from 1989 to 1991, when the NAR government led by then Prime Minister the late ANR Robinson was forced to impose strict austerity measures of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These structural adjustment measures at that time resulted in increased unemployment rate and a 10 % cut in public sector salaries.
This was however very different to the situation Trinidad & Tobago and many countries around the world are facing in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Selby Wilson in an exclusive interview with IzzSo media says the government has done relatively well in dealing with the crisis:
He says that the situation facing the country now is much more complex that the cyclic volatility of energy prices, coupled with the decreased production and consequent GDP which will have an impact on our Debt to GDP ratio:
He says the impact on citizens in Trinidad & Tobago will be similar to what is felt by people around the globe and smaller countries will have a harder time dealing with the fallout because they simply have less resources:
Mr. Wilson says the government has already started providing support by stimulus and support to vulnerable groups but the delivery mechanisms need to be improved and placed on technological platforms for ease of delivery:
He also said that the government now has to rethink it’s development plans and more than ever focus on diversification of the economy into technology, services sectors and other areas. He said we have to be more innovative and lamented our general approach of waiting on the energy prices to rebound which is not going to serve is well into the future. He also stressed tat the government cannot do it alone, and the people of Trinidad & Tobago will need to adapt significant behavioural changes in our everyday lives, from hygiene to social interaction because this is not the last we will see of these types of pandemics and as a country we need to be ready to respond to what is essentially a new world and a new dimension of what is normal: