Daily Brief- Wednesday 11th March, 2020

NEWS

Canada says covid19 case from Trinidad and Tobago

A Canadian who returned from Trinidad and Tobago recently has tested positive for coronavirus. At a press conference on Monday, Alberta's chief medical officer Dr Deena Hinshaw said the number of confirmed cases of covid19 in the province had doubled to 14. She said all of the cases were travel-related. She named TT as one of 11 destinations that patients had visited. The others were France, the Netherlands, Egypt, Iran, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, Panama, the Philippines, and the US. Read more here

$500m never converted to polymer—police probe

Po­lice, the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Bu­reau (FIB) and the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Unit (FIU) may cur­rent­ly be ex­plor­ing who has the “miss­ing” $500 mil­lion miss­ing in pa­per $100 notes which haven’t yet been con­vert­ed to new poly­mer notes, says Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert. Im­bert spoke about the mat­ter in the Sen­ate yes­ter­day re­ply­ing to queries. In­de­pen­dent Sen­a­tor Paul Richards had asked what per­cent­age of the $8 bil­lion in “old” pa­per notes which had ex­ist­ed, was con­vert­ed to poly­mer up to Jan­u­ary 31. Im­bert said at that date, the val­ue of $7.525 bil­lion in pa­per $100 bills had been con­vert­ed. “This would be ap­prox­i­mate­ly 94 per cent of the es­ti­mat­ed $8b in pa­per-based bills that were in cir­cu­la­tion pri­or to the de­mon­eti­sa­tion process,” he said. Richards asked if there was any mech­a­nism en­vi­sioned to iden­ti­fy and col­lect the re­main­ing per­cent­age. Im­bert said, “I wish I could find that out too, Sen­a­tor Richards. I’d love to know who has that miss­ing $500m.” “I as­sume through a process of au­dit­ing in terms of ban­knotes that would have been sent out to com­mer­cial banks it may be pos­si­ble to dis­cov­er who has that ex­tra $500m. But it’ll be very la­bo­ri­ous. Per­haps the po­lice, the FIB and FIU may be in­ves­ti­gat­ing this mat­ter—as we speak. I wouldn’t want to say much more.” Read more here

 

POLITICS

Imbert: Covid19 has not affected projects'

The coronavirus (covid19) has not affected the progress of government to government projects, said Finance Minister Colm Imbert on Tuesday. Imbert made this statement during a press conference at the Ministry of Finance’s office at the Eric Williams Plaza on Independence Square. “The only thing from covid19 that I see affecting us is the supply of materials.” Read more here

T&T in $3.5B hole

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert has re­vealed that the crash in oil prices and low­er pro­ject­ed rev­enue from nat­ur­al gas will lead to a bud­get short­fall of an ad­di­tion­al $3.5 bil­lion. “Our cal­cu­la­tions tell us that this will re­sult in a loss of rev­enue some­where in the vicin­i­ty of 3.5 bil­lion dol­lars,” Im­bert told a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day at his of­fice at the Er­ic Williams Fi­nan­cial Cen­tre in Port-of-Spain. Im­bert said the short­fall will now re­sult in a bud­get deficit in ex­cess of $8.5 bil­lion. He al­so re­vealed that the Dr Kei­th Row­ley-led ad­min­is­tra­tion had re­vised down­ward its pro­jec­tion for the price of crude oil and nat­ur­al gas. Im­bert said: “The Gov­ern­ment has done its pro­jec­tions and we are now us­ing an av­er­age price for the year of forty dol­lars for oil and a well­head price for gas. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Risk-based supervision: Why it’s important

Financial regulators globally previously utilised traditional supervisory approaches to market regulation which focused on a Rules-Based System of control. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Prime Minister warns against neo-fascist plan

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, has called on all Guyanese to condemn what he described as a rise of neo-fascist views here and tied a divisive group to the People’s Progressive Party. The PPP has since denied the claims and has written the Commissioner of Police complaining about the matter. “I have seen on social media what appears to be an insurrectionary and bloody plan to “shut down the country”, and to cause widespread acts of terrorism and economic sabotage,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo said in a statement. He said the plan was issued by an apparent PPP front calling itself “1953movement” which is advising the PPP/C to “take full control over all six regions they won”. Read more here

$7 Billion For COVID - First Case Confirmed In Jamaica

With Jamaica confirming its first COVID-19 case yesterday, Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke has earmarked $7 billion in contingency funding to tackle the SARS-CoV-2 viral threat. In his contribution to the 2020-2021 Budget Debate in Parliament yesterday, Clarke indicated that if the virus became more pervasive, the Government had resources to respond. “We are prepared. We are in a much stronger position today to withstand global shocks than we have ever been before,” Clarke declared. He said that the Government was providing an advance of $2 billion from the 2020-2021 Budget to facilitate immediate ­preventative and preparatory spending. This amount would be reflected in the First Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure. Clarke said that the funds to be expended would be designed to prevent, control, treat, and contain the virus. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Joe Biden extends lead over rival Sanders in Democratic presidential race

Joe Biden has cemented his position as front-runner in the Democratic race to take on President Donald Trump in November's White House election. The former vice-president won Michigan, the biggest prize of primary voting on Tuesday, extending his lead over main rival Senator Bernie Sanders. Five other states - Washington, Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho and North Dakota - voted on Tuesday. Mr Biden also swept aside Mr Sanders in Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho. It was unclear if Mr Sanders would fight on until the party convention in July. The Democrats' next big election milestone is in a week's time when 577 delegates are up for grabs. To secure the nomination, a candidate needs the support of 1,991 delegates. Before Tuesday's vote, Mr Biden had 648 to Mr Sanders' 563. The former vice-president had lagged behind his Democratic rivals in early voting states, but rebounded after big wins on Super Tuesday and endorsements from several former nomination rivals. Read more here

Bahrain evacuates 165 citizens from Iran and 77 test positive for coronavirus

Seventy-seven Bahraini nationals evacuated from Iran have tested positive for coronavirus, according to Bahrain’s Ministry of Health. The 77 were part of a group of 165 Bahraini nationals who were evacuated on a plane from coronavirus-hit Iran on Wednesday. That flight was the first of several repatriation services that will be evacuating Bahrainis from Iran, the ministry said. Read more here

11th March 2020

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