Yet another business lobby group is expressing concern that Government may not have done enough to ensure the viability of local business, in the post-COVID-19 crisis period.
The American Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) is joining the T&T Chamber and other business chambers and business stakeholders in pointing out that Government’s financial and non-financial initiatives for business may not be enough to stem even more hurt to businesses already hurting from the stay-at-home orders in effect for the past several weeks.
The full text of the AMCHAM statement, follows…
AMCHAM T&T RESPONSE TO PHASED RE-OPENING OF BUSINESS
AMCHAM T&T once again would like to place on record our congratulations to the Government for its containment of COVID-19 in T&T. The decisive measures, based on available data and science, that were taken to this point have undoubtedly saved countless lives and made the requirements of ‘total lockdown’ much shorter than if there had been significantly greater spread of the disease locally.
We appreciate the caution being exercised at this point in the phased reopening. While we do not advocate for greater easing than has been announced at this point, the reality is that all businesses are hurting badly—most with zero sales in April and now zero for most of May. The Government’s interaction with businesses around support—both non-financial and financial—has been inadequate.
There are some other businesses that should be considered for exemptions to allow them to operate and we urge the Government to put in place a clear and transparent process for them to apply to do so.
What is a little more concerning is that fewer than 2,000 people have been tested, so far. This means that an accurate assessment of risk is not entirely possible.
More broadly, the reason the Government did so well in managing the health side of the pandemic, is because they acted decisively, took responsibility, made decisions and turned those into action. For the country to recover from the dangerous economic winds swirling around us, they must now take responsibility, act quickly and decisively and collaboratively with stakeholders to make the economic environment more conducive to doing business and attracting investment.