Daily Brief - Thursday 18th February, 2021

NEWS

Online retailer Caribshopper launches in TT

Small businesses in TT now have an avenue through which they can access the North American market, thanks to Caribshopper.com. Caribshopper opened its virtual doors in Jamaica in October 2020 and this year, expanded its operations to TT. In a release Wednesday, Caribshopper, which describes itself as a cultural e-commerce site, noted that it specialises in the distribution of Caribbean-made products, presenting manufactures and SMEs with “the opportunity to benefit from a robust eco-system that facilitates online payments and international shipping direct to consumers.” Read more here

100 get first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

In a landmark move in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, 100 frontline healthcare workers were the first to be inoculated as the Ministry of Health began its first phase of vaccinations at the Couva Multi-Training Facility yesterday. They received their first of two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Trade minister wants talks on intra-regional stock exchange

Any consideration of an intra-regional stock exchange must take into account how such an exchange would help local markets, Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said Wednesday. Speaking at a virtual panel discussion titled A Caribbean Business Forum: Establishing New Business Relationships, Gopee-Scoon said she would speak on the matter further at Caricom's Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), where conversations of that nature are held. She added that Government is encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to join the TT Stock Exchange's junior market to get access to equity financing. Citing Jamaica as an example of the benefit to SMEs, she noted: “The junior stock exchange in Jamaica has been doing well and the importance of it is the access to finance which is the bugbear for the growth of SMEs.” Read more here

Govt must cut public service, increase utility rates

The T&T economy is in deep trouble and the Finance Minister cannot avoid cutting the size of the public service and increase utility rates. In a devastating critique of the government’s economic performance, economist Dr Terrence Farrell said the country is running out of time to take strong action to live within our means. “So absent a miracle, there is no way that the level and composition of government expenditure cannot not now be addressed; and that will involve reducing head-count in the public service, closing state enterprises, and increasing rates for water, electricity, and transportation. As an economist and a citizen, I get no joy from stating this. But the reality is that we will have to come to learn to live within our means,” Dr Farrell told the Business Guardian via email on Tuesday. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Nedco CEO: Start a business, it's worth the risk

Young people are often discouraged by their parents from going into business because they think it's too risky. It's a risk worth taking, says National Entrepreneurship Development Company (Nedco) CEO Calvin Maurice, encouraging anyone to follow their business dreams, no matter their age. There's support available, such as the newly formed partnership between Nedco and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (Cariri) to assist entrepreneurs in expanding their businesses to the next level and making them sustainable. Read more here

It really is time for Imbert to go

Colm Imbert has failed as Finance Minister! There is no other way of saying it. He must now do the honourable thing and resign since it is clear that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will not do what he must know is in the best interest of the country and sack his Finance Minister. In this hyper-partisan society that we live in where the tragic death of a young woman could be painfully seen by so many through the eyes of politics, I am sure this call will be interpreted as me either not liking the minister, or not liking the government or the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) or even being a supporter of the Opposition United National Congress (UNC). Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Prices for gasoline, diesel to drop

GOVERNMENT will be lowering the excise tax rate on both gasoline and diesel from 50 per cent to 35 per cent with immediate effect. This pleasant announcement was made on Wednesday night by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh. “As a result of the reduction in the excise tax rates, the price at the pump will also be reduced with immediate effect. Specifically, gasoline prices are expected to reduce from $184 per litre to $170 per litre, and diesel prices from $170 per litre to $160 per litre,” Singh specified. Read more here

JAMCOVID exposure a treasure trove for scammers, says expert

The exposure of personal data for tens of thousands of Jamaican and international travellers on the Government’s much-touted JamCOVID web portal has triggered fears that the breach could threaten confidence in the Holness administration’s proposed...Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

AstraZeneca's vaccine contract with the UK is based on 'best efforts,' just like its deal with a frustrated EU

AstraZeneca's contract to supply the UK with 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses commits it to making "best reasonable efforts," the same language used in its deal with the European Union, which critics blamed for the bloc's faltering inoculation program. The details of the contract are contained in a redacted version published online without fanfare months ago, long before the UK and the EU became embroiled in a bitter dispute over vaccine supply. Read more here

Facebook Australia: PM Scott Morrison 'will not be intimidated' by tech giant

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said his government will not be intimidated by Facebook blocking news feeds to users. He described the move to "unfriend Australia" as arrogant and disappointing. Facebook is responding to a proposed law which would make tech giants pay for news content on their platforms. Australians on Thursday woke up to find that Facebook pages of all local and global news sites were unavailable. People outside the country are also unable to read or access any Australian news publications on the platform. Read more here

18th February 2021

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