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Updated: 2 hours 35 min ago

Calypso Fund stays at $18

15 hours 14 min ago

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 15 securities of which five advanced, five declined and five traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 668,974 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $13,061,359.13.

GraceKennedy Limited was the volume leader with 251,894 shares changing hands for a value of $767,263, followed by Massy Holdings Limited with a volume of 150,000 shares being traded for $7,124,927.20.

Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited contributed 124,277 shares with a value of $990,552.69, while Unilever Caribbean Limited added 52,944 shares valued at $1,565,436.10.

Scotiabank T&T Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.75 to end the day at $65.

Conversely, Unilever Caribbean Limited registered the day’s largest decline, falling $2.43 to close at $29.57.

Calypso Macro Index Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 25 shares valued at $450. It remained at $18.

In Thursday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:

• The Composite Index advanced by 0.20 points (0.02 per cent) to close at 1,246.98.

• The All T&T Index advanced by 2.75 points (0.16 per cent) to close at 1,732.17.

• The Cross Listed Index declined by 0.33 points (0.32 per cent) to close at 102.44.

Imbert: NIF IPO in July

15 hours 15 min ago

Government will launch the National Investment Fund (NIF) prospectus for sale of assorted CL Financial assets at the end of June with a closing date at end of July, Finance Minister Colm Imbert revealed yesterday at the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing.

He said the NIF implementation team met Wednesday.

During the recent mid-year review, Imbert announced the NIF as the vehicle for an initial public offering (IPO) of assets from CL Financial, including shares in Republic Bank, OCM, Witco, Angostura and Home Construction.

Yesterday, he said Government was targetting the end of June or beginning of July to issue the prospectus which will provide information on the IPO, including various equities and securities in the fund, information on the dividends it is expected to yield and price levels.

Imbert said the process involved getting approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the prospectus.

Once that is done, the offer can then be launched, with time for investors to make bids.

He expects to close the transaction and distribute shares by the end of July and is forecasing that the IPO will be oversubscribed.

The minister said Moody’s recent pronouncement on T&T’s economy was simply their opinions and it was a fact that revenue collection has increased with more income expected from NIF’s public offering.

Imbert said also that proposed legislation for the T&T Revenue Authority will be laid in Parliament either today or Monday.

While the Bill requires a special majority vote from the Opposition for passage, he said Government had obtained such support for recent insurance and FATCA legislation, “so you never know.”

Reiterating developments from the Prime Minister’s recent China trip, he said Cabinet had approved the proposed industrial estate at Pt Lisas which will involve ten Chinese businesses.

He said construction is expected to begin this year at a cost of $104 million.

The project will provide jobs with an estimated 60 per cent of local labour involved in construction.

It will be spearheaded by Beijing Construction Group on five million square feet of land with a plant comprising 25 million square feet.

ANSA McAL achieves highest revenue in history of company

15 hours 17 min ago

The ANSA McAL Group recorded a four per cent increase in revenue, up from from $6.001 billion in 2016 to $6.244 billion for the 2017 financial year. However, profit before tax was $986 million—less than the $1.107 billion achieved in 2016, while earnings per share (EPS) was $3.15 cents, down from $4.01 cents in 2016. A dividend of $1.50 was paid.

Group CEO Andrew Sabga announced these highlights of the comglomerate’s 2017 results at ANSA McAL’s 89th Annual General Meeting yesterday at the Radisson Hotel in Port-of-Spain.

“This is the fifth consecutive year of revenues exceeding $6 billion,” said Sabga, who described the 2017 figures as the “highest revenue in the history of the company.”

Noting that the strength of the Group is in its diversified portfolio, he told shareholders: “The beauty of a diversified portfolio is that when things are tough in one sector, there are always opportunities in other areas.

“We think that given our diversity, we are almost evenly spread. We are looking feverishly at how we can grow the areas that are not as large as the others to make sure that our diversity is such that it really does insulate us from any shocks in any one industry that may exist.”

The financial statements show that the Group produced strong operational results despite very challenging conditions in T&T and Barbados.

The report stated: “There was robust revenue growth across the region with Guyana exhibiting double digit growth at 11 per cent. Grenada and St Kitts grew revenue by nine per cent and seven per cent respectively. Revenues in the United States also increased significantly by 22 per cent.”

The 13 per cent decline in profit before tax was due mainly to slow spending by consumers in the automotive and media sectors, resulting in greater discounting to maintain market share.

According to the report, ANSA McAL’s strategy is to continue revenue growth while optimizing operating costs, thereby improving margins.

“The Group’s performance over the many years means expectations are rightly set at the highest level.

“The true test of a business, however, is its resilience through the economic troughs, to adopt to changes in the market and navigate bumps in the road, an ability the Group and its management team have demonstrated in spades for more than three decades,” the report stated.

First Citizens up $0.22 to $35

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 00:50

Overall market activity resulted from trading in nine securities of which six advanced, one declined and two traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 340,677 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $1,757,122.92. NCB Financial Group Limited was the volume leader with 192,500 shares changing hands for a value of $1,066,250, followed by JMMB Group Limited with a volume of 97,254 shares being traded for $170,194.50. Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited contributed 41,700 shares with a value of $332,803.92, while Calypso Macro Index Fund added 7,720 shares valued at $138,960.

First Citizens Bank Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.22 to end the day at $35. Conversely, Calypso Macro Index Fund suffered the day’s sole decline, falling $2 to end the day at $18.

On the Mutual Fund Market 108,997 shares changed hands for a value of $2,183,061.70. Clico Investment Fund was the
most active security, with a volume of 101,277 shares valued at $2,044,101.70. It advanced by $0.04 to end at $20.18.

In Wednesday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:

• The Composite Index advanced by 2.18 points (0.18 per cent) to close at 1,246.78.

• The All T&T Index advanced by 1.46 points (0.08 per cent) to close at 1,729.42.

• The Cross Listed Index advanced by 0.40 points (0.39 per cent) to close at 102.77

MovieTowne closer to listing on TTSE

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 00:48

Background work has been completed in preparation for the listing of MovieTowne on the T&T Stock Exchange (TTSE).

Chairman Derek Chin, in confirming this yesterday, said a 30 per cent stake is likely to be offered to the public as the company seeks capital to soak up debt incurred in starting up its Guyana operations.

“I won’t sell the whole company I would sell maybe 30 per cent and retain the majority. It will help me to pay off some of the bank debt and minimise my interests,” he said.

Chin, who wants to build on the strength of the MovieTowne brand, said he is also exploring prospects for expanding the multiplex and entertainment chain into St Lucia and Panama, as well as entering some of the markets where Caribbean Cinemas has a presence.

He spoke at a session hosted by Youth Business T&T (YBTT) at the Carousel Room. MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain, where he offered tips and advice for business success to close to 75 entrepreneurs and secondary school students.

Recounting his experience getting into the Guyana market, Chin said there had been a lot of red tape involved in getting things done.

“Sometimes in business we have to make things happen. They are not as business oriented as we are in Trinidad and Tobago. They are bogged down with a lot of bureaucracy,” he said.

UTC assets increase to $21.9b

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 00:47

The Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) has managed to achieve growth in a challenging investment climate, Ian Chinapoo, outgoing executive director, said yesterday.

“We ensured a positive overall growth in aggregate funds under management (FUM), competitive returns, maintained a robust financial position and provided a platform for positioning the future growth of UTC,” he told unit holders at the UTC’s 36th Annual General Meeting at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-Spain.

It was Chinapoo’s last address as UTC executive director as he is leaving to take up a position with another company. On June 1, Nigel Edwards will assume the position.

Chinapoo said care had been taken with UTC’s brand, so they maintained their dominance in the market.

“As unit holders, you should be proud of the fact that homegrown UTC is among the top in brand awareness in the financial services sector and number one in corporate image,” he said.

He told unit holders that four of the UTC’s seven funds posted higher net returns in 2017 compared to the previous year. The flagship Growth and Income Fund generated a net return of 5.4 per cent—more than double the return of 2016. There was a 1.5 percent increase in funds under management to $21.9 billion.

Total revenue for the year was $1.1 billion and the UTC’s customer base grew by 1.1 per cent from about 603,000 to 609,000 unit holders. Total assets increased by $197.6 million to $21.9 billion.

Chinapoo attributed these results to an increase in “prudent impairments provisions” in a challenging year for the T&T economy.

“We will continue to explore opportunities that will improve returns on your investments and leverage our longevity as the country’s leading mutual fund company,” he said.

During the year, the UTC launched three new agencies at Heartland Plaza, Chaguanas, C3 Centre, San Fernando and Canaan, Tobago.

UTC Chairman Justice Rolston Nelson said legislative changes are necessary for the UTC to optimise its investments in a competitive environment because the landscape has changed significantly.

“It is our intention to work towards transforming the Act, allowing us to continue to adapt as an independent financial institution,” he said.

Moody’s disagrees with Imbert on deficit

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 00:45

Rating agency Moody’s disagrees with Finance Minister Colm Imbert claim of a 2.5 per cent narrowing of the fiscal deficit against GDP this year. It is forecasting a wider 3.5 per cent deficit and sees downside risks to Government’s revised revenue targets announced in the mid-year review.

As the country counts down to the 2020 election, the agency is also forecasting that Government will not get the parliamentary majority required for passage of the Property Tax Act and the Revenue Authority which will prevent a more significant increase in non energy revenue.

In its analysis of the mid-year review which was released yesterday, Moody’s said while Government said it expects the fiscal deficit to narrow to $4.2 billion or 2.5 per cent of GDP for the year ending September 30, its forecast is for a “slightly wider fiscal deficit of around 3.5 per cent of GDP,” which is still “substantially narrower than the 8.5 per cent deficit for last fiscal year.

Based on this nominal growth forecast, Moody’s said a fiscal deficit of that size will allow government debt to remain broadly stable at 63 per cent over GDP for the near to medium term. Beyond 2018, it expects that slow implementation of fiscal reforms to prevent further narrowing of deficits.

It noted that while higher energy, non-energy tax revenue and lower capital expenditure will narrow the deficit, Government revised down its projections for total revenue collection in 2018 because of lower asset sales. However, it expects to collect more revenue from the energy and non-energy sectors.

Government expects energy sector revenue to increase to close to eight per cent of GDP. Moody’s said this is because of higher oil prices which triggers mandatory payment of the Supplemental Petroleum Tax when oil prices cross US$50 a barrel. For the first six months of the fiscal year oil prices averaged US$59 a barrel.

Increased gas production, according to Moody’s, will support higher revenue collection from the energy sector. With full year production at Juniper in 2018 and prospects for gas production at Shell’s Starfish field to start in the second half of this year, production could reach 3.8 billion standard cubic feet a day by the end of 2018.

Moody’s said revenue from royalties will increase by about $2 billion, compared to the previous fiscal year.

In terms of the non-energy sector, corporation tax revenue increased by more than half a billion dollars in the first half of fiscal 2018 because of the increase from 25 to 30 per cent. Moody’s said this “should provide an additional boost to tax revenue going forward.”

However, the rating agency said it sees downside risks to Government’s revised budget, particularly as it relates to asset sales. While Government expects to raise $4 billion from the Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the National Investment Fund, Moody’s is not as optimistic.

It also sees downside risks to non-energy related tax revenue and expects only a “very gradual recovery in the non-energy sector” as well ass “lower tax collection from households and from the value added tax.”

$20.6m Republic shares traded

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 23:29

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 14 securities of which five advanced, four declined and five traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 521,901 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $22,674,188.18. Republic Financial Holdings Limited was the volume leader with 200,798 shares changing hands for a value of $20,607,164.58, followed by JMMB Group Limited with a volume of 155,096 shares being traded for $268,588. NCB Financial Group Limited contributed 68,752 shares with a value of $378,136, while FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited added 50,560 shares valued at $448,978.40.

Trinidad Cement Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.32 to end the day at $3. Conversely, First Citizens Bank Limited registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.21 to close at $34.78.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 11,102 shares valued at $223,561.30. It advanced by $0.03 to end at $20.14.

In Tuesday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:

• The Composite Index advanced by 0.62 points (0.05 per cent) to close at 1,244.60.

• The All T&T Index advanced by 1.36 points (0.08 per cent) to close at 1,727.96.

• The Cross Listed Index declined by 0.02 points (0.02 per cent) to close at 102.37.

Tough penalties in draft Fisheries Bill

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 23:28

By month end, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat will take to Cabinet a draft fisheries bill, which in its final stage, can see fishermen facing significant fines and penalties for trawling in sensitive areas of the sea bed.

Rambharat spoke to reporters yesterday, following the opening ceremony of the Fisheries Value Chain Management Workshop at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre.

Admitting that there are things in the draft bill he does not fully agree with, Rambharat said he intends to take the bill to Cabinet to get his colleagues’ views “since it contained some international and regional agreements,” fines, penalties and compulsory measures that will be imposed on fishermen.

The Fisheries Division started work on the bill in 1992 with support from the European Union (EU), and accelerated in 2015, when the EU gave T&T a yellow card because of legislative deficiencies in management of its fishing stock.

There are about 200 clauses in the draft compared to the nine clauses in the present legislation.

Rambharat said his ministry will hold three consultations next month to get feedback from stakeholders and the fishing community. Coming out of these consultations, changes will be made to the draft, following which Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi will be asked to take it to Legislative Review Committee.

The minister said there are no legislative provision for fishing vessels to be registered to carry monitoring devices. The vessel monitoring system is the subject of a pilot project and is going to be mandatory, he said. Compulsory registration of vessels will allow the ministry to enforce the law.

“To me the most important thing is being able to enforce. It is very difficult to operate in an environment where there is no legislative basis for you to take action. Once you have a mandatory requirement there are going to be penalties for not complying . . . and one of the penalties will be de-registration of the vessel.”

Rambharat said the legislation will give the ministry greater power to deal with trawlers that operate in sensitive breeding grounds.

“From what I have seen so far we are pitching the fines at international standards. It’s substantial. There are some things you want to have corrective behaviour over a period of time. Some of the things we want to make sure that people never do. It’s time to act on it.”

Rambharat: Poor yields not our fault

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 23:26

Although there has been a sharp decline in rice yields for 2018, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat says negotiations are ongoing for purchase of a new parboiling rice plant following the sale of the National Flour Mills’ (NFM) Carlsen Field facility. He could not give any more details except to say that NFM is currently negotiating the sale.

“The negotiations are way advanced. I am not at liberty to disclose anything. I can say that the final arrangement will include continued support to local farmers,” he said.

Responding to reports that T&T’s rice farmers had the lowest yields in the history of the country, the minister said he did not have actual production data but if productivity levels are low, Government and NFM were not responsible.

“I am not aware that NFM is responsible for losses. When I was appointed I met unpaid claims dating back to two years. When some the farmers submitted their claims through their attorney last year, it was obvious that these were very recent claims. There is a process to verify claims and make requests for funding to settle the claim. There is a time lag,” he said.

Farmers say they are owed millions of dollars by NFM and can no longer cultivate their entire acreages (see other story).

Asked whether it is feasible to plant rice when imports were cheaper, Rambharat said: “Rice is imported because we have a free market economy and the current price of local rice is heavily dependent on taxpayers subsidizing the whole value chain.”

He said $14 million has been allocated to meet NFM’s fees and the cost of the subsidy to farmers.

On the issue of planting rice for domestic consumption, Rambharat said: “Local rice production, even in the best periods of production when Caroni Limited produced rice, will not come close to meeting local demand. It is our hope that with the proposed parboiling plant there would be opportunities for local rice being available as parboiled rice.”

The minister added: “As I have said on many occasions, rice is the most supported agriculture commodity in the country. The land is leased at nominal rates; water abstraction licenses are provided at nominal rates; pumps are provided in the dry season; seeds are sometimes provided; the rice has a guaranteed price based on grade, and the State pays the milling cost to NFM.”

He explained that because T&T imports 98 per cent of its rice, “it is not possible to set a target because it depends on consumer interest in local white rice; farmers level of investment; yields; weather and other factors.”

He said Government wanted to have local rice production on lands already developed for that purpose, but there is a limit to the extent the State can cover the costs.

Lowest rice production in years

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 23:25

Grappling with millions of dollars in debts, local rice farmers say they have experienced their lowest yields ever and are blaming the government and the National Flour Mills.

Figures from NFM show that farmers produced only 126 tonnes of rice for 2018, compared to 2,800 tonnes in 2014. At present there are 30 rice farmers in T&T compared to more than 10,000 in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Richard Singh who cultivates lands in central Trinidad said the farmers are so frustrated that many of them were abandoning their estates. They have scheduled an emergency meeting at Warrenville today to discuss the productivity crisis,.

“Every quarter we have to pay ADB (Agricultural Development Bank). Flour Mills (NFM) supposed to pay us but they have not done so. The government owes us and they jamming us with heavy interest. I am owing $2.7 million to ADB but I have paid back $1.3 million. I never had loans before,” Singh said.

Another farmer from southeast Trinidad, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was able to plant only 350 acres out of 647 acres.

“I just did not have money to do full-scale cultivation. Our loans are accruing interest. For this year I paid $600,000 in interest and I am still owing $1.7 million to the ADB,” he said, adding that the last time rice farmers got seeds from the government was in 2014.

“Back then the seeds did not germinate successfully. Because of seed quality, we are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. We cannot see our way because of late payment by the NFM,” the farmer added.

Agricultural economist Omardath Maharaj said according to UN ComTrade statistics, T&T imported 37,843 tons of rice in 2014 at a value of approximately$ 143 million.

“In that year, total exports of the commodity was estimated at 336 tons at a value of $ 0.767 million. Annual paddy production averaged 2,569 tons per annum between 2007 and 2014,” jr said.

Maharaj said there was a need for revitalization, as farmers had invested downstream by bringing three of the more popular rice brands to market—Island Grain, Moruga Hill Rice, and Navet Lagoon Rice.

He called on the government to support production, milling, packaging, and marketing of locally-grown rice. One of the main challenges is the ability of the NFM to efficiently mill and convert all locally cultivated paddy into a finished rice product, he said.

Maharaj said there should be the development of a niche market for local rice.

“Trinidad and Tobago may not be able to compete with regional rice producers such as Guyana and Suriname in terms of volume, parboiled and white rice,” he said.

“However, we can develop and service a regional niche market for healthy, natural foods such as our brown rice. We can also bring more arable and currently idle and under-performing land assets into production with new rice varieties, methodologies, and extension support to increase productivity and income at the farm level.”

$0.70 increase for GHL

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:49

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 15 securities of which five advanced, eight declined and two traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 272,160 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $4,236,469.04. Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited was the volume leader with 116,137 shares changing hands for a value of $918,354.23, followed by NCB Financial Group Limited with a volume of 67,050 shares being traded for

$368,775. Trinidad Cement Limited contributed 24,323 shares with a value of $65,227.06, while Republic Financial Holdings Limited added 22,241 shares valued at $2,282,541.91.

Guardian Holdings Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.70 to end the day at $17.18. Conversely, Unilever Caribbean Limited registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.32 to close at $32.18.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 4,160 shares valued at $83,650. It declined by $0.06 to end at $20.11.

In Monday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:

• The Composite Index advanced by 6.34 points (0.51 per cent) to close at 1,243.98.

• The All T&T Index advanced by 1.28 points (0.07 per cent) to close at 1,726.60.

• The Cross Listed Index advanced by 1.58 points (1.57 per cent) to close at 102.39.

Digicel rolls out LTE technology

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:47

Digicel is introducing superfast LTE mobile data technology across T&T, optimising its cell sites across the country to deliver speeds up to ten times faster than exiting 4G technology, the telecommunications giant announced yesterday.

The company has already optimised LTE equipment in Diego Martin, Carenage, Chaguaramas, Port of Spain, Maraval and St. Ann’s.

Improvement work was also done recently in Barataria, El Soccoro, Aranguez, Couva, Freeport, Sangre Grande, Valencia Champs Fleurs and St Joseph.

“The immediate benefit is that customers in these areas are able to get the right amount of signal to make calls, send texts and experience a more consistent stream of data. However, some customers may experience issues when making or receiving calls from areas where improvement work is ongoing,” the company said in a release.

By the end of this month, Piarco, Charlieville, Arima, D’Abadie, Santa Rosa, Chaguanas, Claxton Bay, Tunapuna, Trincity, Couva, Lopinot and Tobago will all be optimised.

The new network will deliver expanded coverage, greater reliability and superior availability. Digicel said, allowing customers in more places to have the smoothest streaming experience, while using multiple apps and internet-based services on their smartphones or other internet-enabled devices.

“Our network transformation is now in full swing and we have stepped up the pace to begin deploying LTE within a few months, so that our personal and business customers can connect to the future of advanced mobile data.

“With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, our LTE will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, wearable fitness trackers, remote monitoring, immersive 4K video and more,” Chandrika Samaroo, General Manager, Home Entertainment, Digicel T&T, said.

“Our island-wide LTE rollout is another example of Digicel’s continued investment and leadership in delivering an amazing network experience to our customers.

“We are in it for the long haul and are very excited about reaching more people in more places and connecting them new things at prices that will continue to be affordable.”

Ahead of launch, Digicel will be helping customers to get ready for LTE with information about handset compatibility and upgrading existing SIM cards to access the technology.

More revenue for GML from World Cup

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:42

Revenue from television rights for the World Cup is expected to improve Guardian Media Limited’s (GML) financial position in 2018, chairman Peter Clarke said yesterday. The increased revenue is the result of an agreement signed in 2015 with DirecTV for free-to-air television rights in T&T of FIFA events, including next month’s World Cup in Russia.

He said CNC3 would be broadcasting live football in high definition on “television and digital platforms, together with radio commentary, multimedia content and full newspaper coverage of events.”

Clarke’s projection of better results follows on the financial year ended December 31, 2017, when the company posted a loss of $3.1 million. However, he did not offer further details when he addressed shareholders at GML’s Annual General Meeting at the Kapok Hotel, Maraval, other than to say having the rights will contribute positively to revenue in December 2018.

The chairman also told shareholders that during the financial year, the company generated $19 million in operating cash, while total assets amounted to $354 million.

“The country’s economic slowdown has had a considerable impact on advertising spend across all sectors, a local reflection of a global down turn in traditional media advertising,” he added.

In the annual report, which has been posted to the T&T Stock Exchange, Clarke said the company had implemented a number of planned structural changes necessary to remain competitive, including a redesign of the newspaper.

“Parallel to this, the country’s economic slowdown has had a considerable impact on advertising spend across all sectors—a local reflection of a global downturn in traditional media advertising.

“As a result, revenues reported were $138 million ($164 million—2016) reflecting a decline of 16 per cent, whilst a before tax loss of $2.2 million ($16 million profit—2016) was incurred,” he said.

Managing Director Nicholas Sabga announced a new corporate social responsibility in the area of recycling that is currently being tested internally.

Sabga said the company wants to change attitudes about recycling and plans to eventually broaden the initiative to the wider public, including shareholders.

The UWI signs MoU with Sussex University

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 00:04

In its thrust to broaden its international reach and reputation, the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

The two universities have committed to collaborate on research-based solutions for sustainable social and economic development and teaching at the graduate level. The MoU will see joint research, publications, staging of conferences and academic meetings, exchange of academic material and other aspects of teaching and learning.

The MoU was signed on April 26 during the SALISES’ 19th Annual Conference held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, as part of the calendar of events marking The UWI’s 70th anniversary. Director of IDS at University of Sussex, Professor Melissa Leach also delivered the conference’s distinguished lecture on the topic, Equity in the Anthropocene: Charting Transformational Pathways to Just and Sustainable Futures.

Commenting on the MoU, Professor Leach said: “I am delighted that IDS has signed an MoU with The University of the West Indies, and look forward to close collaboration into the future on the many topics where we share common interests.”

Director of SALISES, Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee, said: “This MoU presents an excellent opportunity for collaborative research and academic engagement between the two institutes. This relationship will further expose our research fellows and students to international best practices in policy planning and, importantly, to programmatic implementation.”

Threat to Caribbean public sector

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 00:03

Young finance professionals in the public sector are in the dark about their future due to a lack of transparent career paths, according to a new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Generation Next: managing talent in the public sector found that young finance professionals in the Caribbean value clear career paths, but only 17 per cent believe clear paths exist in their current organisation.

The report is the last in ACCA’s global Generation Next series, which explores the work preferences and career ambitions of over 1,400 ACCA members and students working in the public sector, aged 16 to 36 years old.

Alex Metcalfe, ACCA head of public sector policy said: “Generation Next respondents in the public sector say a transparent career path is the most important issue in both attracting them to an employer and retaining them there.

“Across the sector, developing talent has been a challenge given austerity and the tightening of government budgets, which often hit learning and development budgets. The Generation Next survey showed that 96 per cent of respondents were attracted to public sector employers that would provide the opportunity for them to learn and develop skills. It is essential public organisations meet this challenge.”

The research also found that experience at work was essential for attraction and retention in the public sector. The sector itself can offer a dynamic work experience, where employees can develop professionally whilst working to tackle leading societal challenges.

Speaking on T&T’s respondents’ views of what constituted effective learning and development in the public sector, Julie Hotchkiss, ACCA market director of Europe and Americas said: “On-the-job learning was one of the most-used learning activities in the sector globally, and was ranked the third highest effective learning strategy by public sector respondents in Trinidad and Tobago (29 per cent).

“Job rotations and secondment were considered to be the most effective (38 per cent) followed by attending external workshops (32 per cent). On-the-job learning and job rotations are forms of experiential learning, where the employee ‘learns through doing’. Clearly, there is an opportunity for public sector employers to increase the use of these experiential forms of learning to increase the effectiveness of their learning and development strategies.”

A large majority of Generation Next in the Caribbean believe technology will enable finance professionals to focus on much higher value-added activities in the future. 91 per cent of public sector respondents in the Caribbean take this view, compared with 87 per cent across the global public sector.

The next generation of professional accounts in the public sector are imagining diverse careers and gaining a depth of work experience. The future of talent in the public sector is facing many forces of change. It is vital that employers respond to the work preferences of Generation Next in order to position themselves best for responding to this changing landscape.

Alex concluded: “Public sector organisations are typically unable to compete on remuneration for top talent, but must instead communicate a holistic offering to their candidates that includes clear career paths and a positive work environment. Yet whatever strategies they decide to adopt, it is essential that public sector employers recognise the importance of talent management as a key component of their future strategies.”

Paints to be protected under revised Caricom treaty

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 01:11

GEORGETOWN—Caribbean Community (Caricom) member states, Guyana and Suriname have agreed to join the region’s Less Developed Countries (LDCs) in agreeing to add paints to the list of products benefiting from Article 164 protection.

This was announced during a news conference at the end of a meeting of the Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED) conference, attended by regional trade and economic affairs ministers.

Paint, is one of three items, the others being flour and certain cereals and animal feeds, beer and brewery products that have been so far agreed to pending further consultations by the More Developed Countries (MDCs)—T&T, Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana, which have been given extra time before June 13, to complete their consultations on a raft of items.

Article 164 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas is designed to promote the development of industries in the LDC’s of Caricom, including Belize and Haiti. These countries are allowed to deny certain products originating in Caricom and extra regional countries from preferential entry into their markets.

According to Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to Caricom Dr Clarence Henry, the outcome of the COTED meeting “is a signal of maturity and recognition of the critical importance of this provision of the Treaty which focussed attention of the sensitive industries within the LDCs under Chapter 7 of the Revised Treaty.

“Certainly, the decision today offers new hope for the spirit and application of the provisions of the Revised Caricom Treaty. This COTED, can be described as successful (but) there is still work to be done.”

During the news conference, the council also lamented the apparent influx of extra regional imports of flour and cement from Turkey, as well as the repackaging of goods from extra regional sources that seems to be in violation or breach of the Treaty.

The COTED agreed to a recommendation for a stakeholder consultation June 8—9 on the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) in Guyana, with the aim of addressing insufficient information on the regional project and to give ordinary citizens an opportunity to pose questions or concerns.

GHL up by $0.48

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 01:10

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 12 securities of which six advanced, three declined and three traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 201,738 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $2,632,143.89. Guardian Holdings Limited was the volume leader with 83,904 shares changing hands for a value of $1,382,861.58, followed by Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited with a volume of 55,672 shares being traded for $439,808.80. NCB Financial Group Limited contributed 51,783 shares with a value of $273,848.25, while First Citizens Bank Limited added 3,000 shares valued at $104,986.96.

Guardian Holdings Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.48 to end the day at $16.48. Conversely, Unilever Caribbean Limited registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.24 to close at $32.50.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 18,407 shares valued at $371,230.70. It declined by $0.07 to end at $20.17.

In Friday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:

• The Composite Index advanced by 2.65 points (0.21 per cent) to close at 1,237.64.

• The All T&T Index advanced by 3.04 points (0.18 per cent) to close at 1,725.32.

• The Cross Listed Index advanced by 0.31 points (0.31 per cent) to close at 100.81.

BpTT celebrates Brighter Prospects

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 01:08

Graduates of bpTT’s Brighter Prospects programme have been told not to despair when faced with a challenging job market.

Giselle Thompson, the energy company’s Vice President, Corporate Operations, who address the 19 graduates at a ceremony at bpTT’s Hospitality Suite, Queen’s Park Oval, urged them to persevere as the education process is continuous. Brighter Prospects is one of bpTT’s signature programmes within its corporate social responsibility portfolio.

Thompson said: “I know that those feelings of accomplishment in completing your studies can quickly be dashed as you face a very tough job market.

“My advice to you would be to be patient, be persistent, show up strong and have faith that you will get that job opportunity that you long for.”

She said the company understands the value of education to personal, community and national development, adding that it is one of bpTT’s areas of focus to achieve its aspiration of positively impacting national development.

Programmes range from early childhood to tertiary level.

“We work with many organisations to target areas of need. A key area of focus for us has been to introduce technology into the teaching and learning environment.

Through our smart board technology in education programme, for example, we are helping to modernize the delivery of the curriculum in a way that is interesting and aligned with how children interact with the world around them,” Thompson said. Ten smart boards have been installed at schools in Mayaro, Arouca, Port-of-Spain and Carenage and more than 60 teachers have been trained in the proper use of the technology.

The company also continues to marry technology and learning with the launch of the Arrow programme in primary schools in Mayaro and Tobago. The cutting-edge software helps children and adults improve their literacy.

“This fantastic programme consistently ranks among one of the top 10 programmes in the UK for literacy improvement,” Thompson said.

Valedictorian Amanda Mahadeo chronicled her struggles, which included lack of basic resources such as a computer. She said the assistance of bpTT propelled her study.

T&T still on tax haven blacklist

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 01:04

BRUSSELS—Two Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries are likely to be removed from the European Union list of tax havens next week, when European finance ministers meet here.

The Bahamas and St Kitts-Nevis had in the past strongly objected to be included in the list put out by the EU that had also included St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and T&T.

Since then, St Lucia, Grenada and Barbados have been removed, but T&T remains.

According to EU documents, Bahamas and St Kitts-Nevis had been blacklisted as their tax rules and practices were deemed not in line with EU standards.

Finance Minister, K Peter Turnquest, had earlier this year travelled to Brussels to argue his country’s position, noting in December last year, Nassau signed onto the Inclusive Framework for the implementation of the Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative with the OECD.

The EU documents show that the two Caribbean countries committed to changes and they would be moved them from the blacklist to a so-called grey list of jurisdictions with low tax transparency standards but aiming to become less opaque.

The EU finance ministers will meet on Friday next week and are expected to formally adopt the removal decision.

Earlier this year, Caricom leaders, who met in Haiti for the 29th inter-sessional summit, called on their finance ministers and central bank governors of the region to meet “expeditiously” to consider new proposals as regional governments continue to react to decisions by Europe in listing some countries as tax havens.

The communique issued at the end of the summit noted that the proposals on a Caricom Strategy had been prepared by a Caricom Technical Working Group. (CMC)