Daily Brief - Thursday 10th June, 2021


Manufacturers ask govt to give grants to almost half its 53,000 workers

The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) says it welcomes the supplementary funding in various sectors such as Health, Agriculture, National Security and Social Development as announced in the mid-year budget review yesterday. But the association is asking Minister Colm Imbert to provide salary relief grants to just under half of the manufacturing sector’s 53,000 employees who it said are also “adversely” affected by COVID-19. Read more here



First batch of 6m US vaccines will be Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson

As part of the US government's goal of donating 80 million covid19 vaccines to the Caribbean and Latin America by the end of June, the first six million doses will come from the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson brands, a statement from the US charge d'affaires Shante Moore said on Wednesday. Moore responded to questions over which vaccines would be available to TT via social media and noted while he did not know which brand this country would receive, the donated vaccines would come from these three brands. Read more here

Chambers hope help comes for businesses after mid-year review

While Finance Minister Colm Imbert says the country has sufficient foreign exchange reserves, business people remain starved of foreign currency making it difficult to purchase goods and pay bills. Chaguanas Chamber of Commerce president Richie Sookhai and Greater San Fernando Area Chamber of Commerce president Kiran Singh shared this view in response to remarks made by Imbert in his mid-year budget review presentation in Parliament yesterday. Responding to a suggestion by a local radio commentator that government approach the IMF, Imbert said Trinidad and Tobago has sufficient foreign exchange reserves in the vicinity of US $7 billion. Read more here



$500m allocated to national agriculture stimulus

Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis said a $500 million agriculture stimulus package which was mentioned in last year's budget will allow the Agriculture Ministry "to commit to the critical projects throughout the country on a timely basis." Responding to a question from the Opposition in the House of Representatives, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat, Robinson-Regis said this package will affect all constituencies throughout Trinidad and Tobago. Read more here

T&T must learn to recognise when danger abounds

T&T has had a very rough 15 months but, to be honest, since 2015 our economy has survived on borrowing and drawdowns from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund to meet the shortfalls in revenue. The root of the problem is fairly simple. We have experienced a period of prolonged low energy prices, lower for longer as it is called in the energy sector, and lower production levels. This has led to reduced government revenue and even though the Finance Minister has clawed back spending on the back of simply not paying bills and removing the fuel subsidy, we still have not brought into alignment our expenditure and revenue. Read more here




Karen Darbasie calls on financial institutions to pool resources: Investing in clean energy

The Paris Agreement. a legally binding international treaty on climate change signed by 196 nations in 2015 was one of the first major drives to limit the rise in temperatures due to global warming to under two degrees. The goal was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to drop the temperature. With the world, and especially Caribbean islands, already feeling the effects of climate change and covid19 accelerating the demand for cleaner energy, more and more industries are seeking to transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy. Read more here

Imbert worries about sustainability of National Insurance Fund

While the National Insurance Board (NIB) provides services to over 588,000 people and offers 23 benefits it faces serious sustainability challenges and risks of reserve exhaustion, whether it is from the expenditure of the National Insurance System (NIS) exceeding its income or from the assets of the National Insurance Fund becoming depleted within the next 25 years according to Finance Minister Colm Imbert. Speaking at a webinar titled, “Pensions and Health Care Systems in Latin America - Challenges posed by Ageing, Technological Change, and Informality,” hosted by CAF Development Bank of Latin America, Imbert said the root cause of the fund becoming depleted is the life expectancy in T&T which like many other countries, has increased steadily over the last 50 years while birth rates have decreased. Read more here



ExxonMobil announces 20th oil discovery

Oil Giant, ExxonMobil, on Wednesday, announced the discovery of its 20th oil find offshore Guyana. The latest detection was made at the Longtail-3 site in the Stabroek Block. A statement from ExxonMobil said that drilling at Longtail-3 encountered 230 feet (70 meters) of net pay, including newly identified, high quality hydrocarbon bearing reservoirs below the original Longtail-1 discovery intervals. It specified that the well is located approximately two miles (3.5 kilometers) south of the Longtail-1 well. It was drilled in more than 6,100 feet (1860 meters) of water by the Stena DrillMAX. “Longtail-3, combined with our recent discovery at Uaru-2, has the potential to increase our resource estimate within the Stabroek block, demonstrating further growth of this world-class resource and our high-potential development opportunities offshore Guyana,” said Mike Cousins, Senior Vice-President of Exploration and New Ventures at ExxonMobil. Read more here



'Miraculous' mosquito hack cuts dengue by 77%

Dengue fever cases have been cut by 77% in a "groundbreaking" trial that manipulates the mosquitoes that spread it, say scientists. They used mosquitoes infected with "miraculous" bacteria that reduce the insect's ability to spread dengue. The trial took place in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, and is being expanded in the hope of eradicating the virus. The World Mosquito Programme team says it could be a solution to a virus that has gone around the world. Few people had heard of dengue 50 years ago, but it has been a relentless slow-burning pandemic and cases have increased dramatically. In 1970, only nine countries had faced severe dengue outbreaks, now there are up to 400 million infections a year. Dengue is commonly known as "break-bone fever" because it causes severe pain in muscles and bones and explosive outbreaks can overwhelm hospitals. Read more here

Brexit trouble overshadows Biden and Johnson's first meeting

Boris Johnson's star turn on the world stage has already been undermined by his previous greatest accomplishment: Brexit. The British Prime Minister is set to welcome US President Joe Biden to Cornwall, England, on Thursday for a bilateral meeting where the pair are scheduled to discuss a new "Atlantic Charter" -- a modern update to the joint statement between Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the challenges facing the world after the Second World War. Biden is in the UK because Johnson is hosting the G7 summit in what was supposed to be Britain's big return to the international arena. Read more here

10th June 2021


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