Brown, left, with Anna Szterenfeld, both of the Economists
Intelligence Unit, at a media conference at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad
hotel, 1 Dock Road, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Photo: Keith Matthews
Expect inflation to remain at 10 per cent for the rest of 2008 and
drop to about 8.3 per cent in 2009.
Thats the forecast from Bronwen Brown of the Economic Intelligence
Unit of the Economist magazine.
She said that all indicators showed that T&T was in a good position
and inflation was the key issue facing the country.
She said that Governments massive infrastructural projects
were fuelling the inflation but that high global food prices were
also a contributor.
Inflation, she said, was being fuelled by both internal and external
factors which added to demand pressures.
Brown said that by next year inflation should drop as food production
increases to level off the high prices.
She was speaking at a media conference hosted by Economist Conferences,
a department of the well known magazine, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel
yesterday in advance of a business roundtable with the Government
which officially opened yesterday.
The roundtable, which will be held behind closed doors, would involve
Government ministers Lenny Saith, Conrad Enill, Joseph Ross, Karen
Tesheira-Nunez and Kennedy Swaratsingh and more than 150-plus delegates.
It ends today.
Brown said that the Economists forecast for natural gas and
oil growth was 16 per cent and 45 per cent respectively for 2008
which should augur well for the energy economy.
As to whether the countrys high crime rate was affecting investment,
Brown said that members of the energy sector, which was where most
invesment was taking place, were not in contact with a lot of crime.
She pointed out that it has impacteed on domestic businesses as
the cost of security has increased.
Brown said that T&Ts gas subisdy which was about $2 billion
last year was amazingly low in the Caribbean and by extension the
rest of the world.
some point, T&T will have to bite the bullet, she concluded.
She said that it was costing the Government a lot to subsidise the
price of gas but that a decision to remove the subsidy would not
She forecast that the subsidy would remain in the medium term but
that it needed to change.
Energy Minister Conrad Enill has already admitted that the subsidy
is not properly targeted.
He said that Government may have to make special arrangements to
ensure that the benefits of the subsidy reach the people it was
intended to help.