Economist Mariano Browne is advising the Government to work with the private sector to take the economy out of the recession that it is in.

On Thursday at a post-Cabinet press briefing, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley hit out at the media and other business interests which he claimed are behind different media houses.

“The Government does not make money on its own, it requires the private sector. They invest, they generate cash and the Government taxes that. At this stage, it requires an engagement with the private sector that needs to be done to open up the economy. If you are going have front pages in the press about whose interests are being protected, that impinges on the level of business security and confidence in the local economy,” Browne said.

Browne was speaking on Friday night at a webinar hosted by the Trade and Economic Development Unit of the Department of Economics, University of the West Indies, St Augustine. The topic was Interpreting the 2020 Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Report on T&T.

Browne said that T&T’s productivity has been declining for a while and it must be improved. He advised the local private sector to become more competitive and export more to regional and international markets.

Former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine, who also spoke, said that oil and gas production has been declining over the last few years and the Government must raise energy production and also find money to run the country.

“Our revenue and cash management are impaired for the next few years. Where do we get money to run the country? Having had the experience of being in government, it boils down to money to run T&T to pay salaries, to run schools, fix bridges and so on. It’s an unprecedented situation that we are in.”

Ramnarine said one option was for the Government to go to the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund (HSF) as the Finance Minister has already done.

There is also emergency funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which other regional countries like the Bahamas have already tapped into, he said.

He said in the 1980s the country had natural gas to pull the economy out of that situation, but asked what will pull T&T out of the present situation that it is in today.

“What is going to pull us out of this hole that we are in now?” he asked.