Browne: Positive signs in T&T economy

(Trinidad Guardian) – Two weeks after Central Bank Governor Ewart Williams said the financial indicators were giving a mixed picture of the economy, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Mariano Browne, has said there is nothing to be worried about. “I don’t think there is anything to worry about at this stage. If you look at one of the fastest growing economies in the world, which would be India, it has an inflation rate of 16 per cent. In the case of China, it has an inflation rate of just below five, but has significant rate of growth. “There are some ‘trade-offs’ in terms of growth and inflation, and we can see some positive changes in the economy as we move forward,” Browne said on Monday, following the Business Development Company’s (BDC) news conference on improving competitiveness through family business governance.

The conference was held at Fiesta Plaza, Movietowne, Invaders’ Bay. At the launch of the Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Report on April 14, Williams said: “Some indicators are saying improvements, others are not. Therefore, the jury is still out. I never accepted there was a recession, so I can’t say we are out of it. We need to wait and see, but there are tentative signs of some positive growth.” On the subject of inflation, Browne said food prices have increased locally, but not internationally. “I think most people are aware in a drought, the price of food has gone up because of the drought. The price of food has gone up because of the drought, and is largely associated with local produce. “The international price of food has reasonably stablised and we haven’t seen the difficulties associated with 2008, when the price of commodities, like wheat and rice, shot up. “We know they have had problems with sugar, and that’s one of the reasons why the prices on the world market have increased. Generally speaking, most of the other commodities have been stable.
Family-owned businesses

Browne said family-owned businesses contribute to the economy on a large scale and attempts should be made to develop and preserve them. “Family businesses are very important to economies everywhere in the world. There are many large firms around the world that are family firms. For instance, Micrososft, Audi and Barclays Bank. Family businesses are the largest generator or largest employer. “I think it is well-known, growth in employment is largely done by the small and medium enterprise sector and this sector has a large preponderance of family-owned business and therefore, it is important to look after family-owned businesses,” Browne said.

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