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Financial News

Sep 2009 Financial News

'Now is not the time'

Sep 11, 2009

Now is not the time for Government to pursue international companies to start operating out of the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC) in Port of Spain, given the continuing global economic downturn.

This was the position of Caribbean Money Market Brokers chief operating officer Ramcharan Kalicharan during his analysis of the 2009/2010 national budget delivered by Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira on Monday.

The budget highlighted the TTIFC as a potential key revenue earner for the country.

Kalicharan said that the business model for the TTIFC needed to be "enunciated more clearly because at this point it's difficult to see when the IFC is set up, how would that generate revenue that would contribute to the economy".

"It is identified as supporting diversification but my own view is that any impact would be minimal with the fallout arising out of the global financial crisis. Now is not a good time and it's unlikely that you will see these international financial firms looking at setting up new operations within the immediate future," Kalicharan added.

He did so during the CMMB's post-budget breakfast seminar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain.

Nunez-Tesheira was the feature speaker at the event but spoke earlier than scheduled as she had to attend yesterday's weekly Cabinet meeting at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's.

Kalicharan noted that "there is still a fair bit of work to be done", with regard to the legal, tax and regulatory framework to facilitate an IFC.

He warned that since Government would be running a fiscal deficit for the 2009/2010 financial year, "foreign reserves are likely to decline", and said that the Government needed to be cautious as a prolonged period of high fiscal deficits could undermine the position of the Trinidad and Tobago dollar.

Another speaker at the CMMB event, economist Dennis Pantin, said that while the local economy was in good shape, if it was not managed well there was the potential for it to enter the kind of pre-collapse mode that occurred during the recession of the early 1980s.

Article by: Juhel Browne
Source: Trinidad Express
Date Publiushed: Friday, September 11th 2009