The President of the Central Finance Facility (CFF) Letitia Telesford, has called on leaders of the cooperative sector to prepare for a new economy.
The release indicated: “Our voice must be heard, even though we are not represented on the team set up by Government.”
The CFF argued that credit union movement and the cooperative sector as a whole has a responsibility to be a very active spokesperson on behalf of its more than 500,000 members in T&T.”
This membership, according to the CFF, reflects ostensibly the middle to lower echelons of the society—a segment that it claims has been voiceless in financial and economic discussions pertaining to T&T’s current and future socio-economic status.
The CFF commended the Government’s initiative and is calling on leaders in the cooperative sector to start thinking and planning beyond the restart towards a new socio-economic order that will insulate the ordinary people from future similar shocks.
According to Telesford, urgent short-term socio-economic action is necessary, but the medium- and long-term future will require a new start.
She postulated that COVID-19 has shown globally that most of the society is too vulnerable to sudden shocks and the traditional social safety nets have struggled to respond quickly and comprehensively.
She noted that individuals and businesses were operating on the edge of financial liquidity using month-to-month cash flow and short-term credit, whereas savings for emergencies were quickly depleted and many have toppled over the edge.
Telesford emphasised that “the T&T Government is trying hard and has done well” but many are still suffering. She explained that this has resulted from the structural deficiencies created by non-reporting and ineffective monitoring of the small to medium-sized business sectors, making it difficult to glean information readily so as to inform appropriate supportive action.
She said: “The truth is ‘self-isolation’ and ‘stay at home’ assumes one has access to enough cash and does not rely on a ‘daily hustle’ to put bread on the table. That presumption is, however, only applicable to a privileged portion of any society.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, according to Telesford, has exposed the structural economic weaknesses in the organisation of business and economic affairs on the national, regional and international levels.
Therefore, Telesford said that the post-COVID-19 economy would not be like the one that preceded it and it is therefore, that the cooperative sector prepares to participate and shape this new economy.