UWI economist Dr Roger Hosein

Senior Lecturer, University of the West Indies (UWI) Dr Roger Hosein, is projecting that T&T will suffer one of its worst Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declines in 2020 in almost 40 years.

“For 2020, Standard and Poor’s projection is -2.1, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected -4.5 per cent, and I think it will be between -7 per cent and -9 per cent. It will be the second deepest contraction in my judgment since 1983,” he told the Guardian on Saturday.

Hosein also spoke during a webinar conference on Friday night on the post-COVID-19 economy hosted by the Trade and Economic Development Economics, UWI.

He also listed five measures that the country needs to move ahead after the pandemic is over.

The first is to increase the production of oil and gas, increase the production of other exportable goods, increase the production of those goods where there can be import substitution, increase production of “essential goods” like food and medicine, and reduce imports of non-essential goods like luxury cars.

Hosein said it is very important that policymakers begin to take the necessary steps to save the economy.

“I have to be optimistic the situation will get better because the economy will experience a $15 billion to $20 billion deficit this year. I hope that comes as a rude awakening and as a shock to the entire policymakers in that what we have been doing has failed and we need to move to a new normal.”

Patrick Watson, former head of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at UWI told Guardian Media on Saturday morning said that the Government and the different economic sectors need to come up with new solutions as the country and world are entering into a strange time in the world’s history.

“Too many people are prescribing as if we are going back to something normal. I am quite certain that is not going to happen. This thing is very, very bad. There will be a worldwide recession almost certainly.”

He added that the local business sector must become more innovative as he said that many of the products needed during this “new normal” do not even exist and people must become more creative in finding solutions.