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Lowering a signal

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Trade Minister on Moody’s rating

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said Wednesday’s downgrade of T&T’s issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings to Ba1 with a stable outlook by Moody’s Investors Service, is a strong signal of what T&T ought to be doing when it comes to addressing the issues highlighted by Moody’s.

In an interview with the media on Wednesday, after the ceremony to launch the National Aid for Trade Strategy which was held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port-of-Spain, Gopee-Scoon said while revenues from energy products are important, the time had come for a change in T&T’s strategy for earning revenue.

“Energy products are very important for us, but the kind of revenue streams we had from oil and gas are not there anymore. In the foreseeable future while these products remain important and relevant, the fact is that we have to look at other sources of revenue and this is one of the reasons why government is launching the National Aid for Trade strategy.”

The back-to-back downgrades by the two rating agencies come on the cusp of T&T’s anticipated mid-year review, which is scheduled for the middle of May.

Gopee-Scoon said: “All of our ministries are ready for it. We understand our roles and responsibilities. We understand where we are and that’s the first step. Understanding what our constraints are, what our debt situation is, what our revenue situation is-collectively the ministries have come together under the guidance of the Prime Minister. We have to face what is before us, we are geared to move the country forward and to ensure that there is economic stability and growth.”