Category Archives: Industry Insights

This month, our free business series will be covering IT Security for your business: How to be cost conscious yet protective of your company data.

Join us: 

June 27th

10am – 11am

Board Room, Aegis Business Solutions

Corner Hosein Drive and Southern Main Road, Chase Village

View Aegis location

RSVP: catherine@crsrecruitment.co.tt

We continue to offer added value to businesses in Trinidad and Tobago in technical recruitment and IT support across industries. CRS offers SMEs the option to gain access to IT support needed for their business by offering IT and design freelancers when needed. Our CRS biz series aims to offer free business advice in technical areas that support business growth and sustainability. Contact us today!

 

CRS held its first Biz event last week Thursday 12, April on “Transitioning Your Business Operations Online”

Non-Executive Director, Susan Hale shared insights on how she moved CRS business to the cloud, saving average $30k per month. This learning is key in today’s marketplace as our session shared insights for SME’s thinking about moving key areas of their business online.

“Susan’s presentation was down to earth, relatable and well received. The attendees were very participative and quite a few of the business owners genuinely needed help with transitioning their operations online.” says General Manager, Shinelle Padmore.

One of the key points highlighted was how to ensure productivity and deliverables are done by staff:

  • Daily Timesheets with start/end times and task descriptions
  • Let staff know that you will validate claims
  • Compare effort vs achievements
  • Regular meetings and online calls
  • Constant feedback
  • Reliable internet

Guests enjoyed an interactive session and gained the opportunity to ask one to one questions with Susan. The event was held at Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services at 18 O’Connor Street, Woodbrook.

For more info for your business and need an I.T freelancer, contact us at info@crsrecruitment.co.tt

Yesterday I attended AMCHAM T&T’s discussion on the 2018 Economic Outlook for Trinidad & Tobago.

Keynote speakers included Ravi Tewari, CEO Guardian Group, Racquel Moses, Country Manager Microsoft, Marla Dukharan, Chief Economist, Bitt inc and Dr. Terrence Farrell, Former Chairman, Economic Development Advisory Board.

Their presentations were of the highest caliber, also the President of AMCHAM; Mitchell De Silva, gave a strong contribution during his opening remarks.

Some of the “take aways” include Mitchell De Silva’s comments on the need for regulatory visibility and enforcement. Ravi Tewari’s inference that T&T’s needs to fix structural problems and that private sector participation is required in the provision of infrastructure. Racquel Moses showed how T&T could become more efficient through digital transformation, citing Estonia’s success story.

Marla Dukharan gave insightful analysis on T&T’s high levels of financial leakage, low fiscal multiplier, coupled with weak institutions. She stated that if we don’t change our modus operandi T&T is likely to end up turning to the IMF by 2021 / 2022. Dr. Farrell echoed Ravi Tewari’s sentiment about the need for structural change, he also suggested that our Government should regularise their accounting standards by adopting IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards). Dr. Farrell commented on our population’s dependency syndrome and rent seeking behavior, he presented arguments in support of the need for change.

All the presenters shared a common perspective on the need to diversify our economy away from its dependency on the Oil and Gas sector.

 

On  November 8, CRS attended the Launch of Facebook Connect Americas at Hyatt Regency Trinidad. The IDB partnered with Facebook to  create a platform that facilitates business  for SME’s in the Americas.

The idea was to eliminate barriers for SMEs by doing these three things:

  • Providing access to trustworthy clients abroad
  • Access to practical info for international trade
  • Access to financing for SMEs

The entire platform is free, financed by the IDB.

CRS General Manager, Shinelle Padmore says, “Thanks to the IDB and Facebook for coming to Trinidad and Tobago to launch Connect Americas. It is an inexpensive way for Caribbean Resourcing Solutions to have Global reach. We will use this platform to facilitate trade, export, and the sharing of ideas”

Join here

https://connectamericas.com/

Last Friday the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce in collaboration with Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) provided a forum for stakeholders to have a discussion on Economic Development in Trinidad and Tobago and the Region.

The format was an animated presentation given by Keith Duncan on the Jamaica experience and lessons learned, followed by a panel discussion lead by of Dr. Marlene Attzs (Moderator), Ronald Hinds (President of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce), Terrence Farrell (Chairman of T&T’s Economic Development Advisory Board), and Keith Duncan (Co-chairman of Jamaica’s Economic Programme Oversight Committee – EPOC).

Keith Duncan gave an overview of Jamaica’s economic woes explaining why they needed to turn to the IMF for funding. His presentation included a statistic driven account of the progress that Jamaica had made over the last year. Duncan highlighted their major priorities for economic growth, which included macro-economic stability, reduction in crime, a debt to GDP ratio of 60%, and maintaining comfortable NIR levels. Duncan indicated that Trinidad and Tobago’s economic position was salvageable; saying that our debt to GDP ratio was more favourable than Jamaica’s. He suggested that we should not wait until our backs were against the wall before choosing to act. Duncan explained that the key to Jamaica’s successful implementation of policies and fiscal measures was ongoing public consultation and community activity, this helped EPOC to gain buy-in from the population. Duncan also mentioned that there was public accountability and transparency for achieving pre-determined targets for economic progress, and the establishment of three independent oversight bodies aided with this – the Economic Growth Council (EGC), the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), and the Public Sector Transformation Oversight Committee (PSTOC).

During Dr. Marlene Attzs’ opening remarks she made reference to Trinidad and Tobago’s current state of Economic Stillness. The panel discussion revolved around overcoming this. Dr. Terrence Farrell gave some compelling arguments for diversifying away from the Oil and Gas Sector. Farrell commented that “Lower for Longer” oil and gas prices, depleting natural gas reserves, and Trinidad’s high oil production price were all signals that our Nation’s dependence on the Energy Sector was not sustainable. Ronald Hinds supported Dr Farrell’s perspective. The discussion continued around the need to adjust our foreign exchange rate and reduce Trinidad and Tobago’s reliance on imports while increasing exports from other sectors. Dr Farrell alluded to seven alternate sectors with seven enablers that could assist in boosting the economy.

Questions and comments were taken from participants across the floor including Marla Dukharan (Chief Economist at Bitt Inc. and former Group Economist at RBC Caribbean), Howard Dottin (Programme Director at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business), as well as a cross section of business leaders from various industries in the Private Sector. The majority of comments were in support of the panelists’ perspective. It is interesting to note that there were no decision makers from Government Ministries in attendance.

 

T&T’s inaugural Clean Energy Conference was well attended. The Energy Chamber did an excellent job of facilitating. Participants and presenters appeared to have aligned goals; to achieve a 15% reduction in T&T’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and to have 10% of our energy come from renewable sources by 2021. The impetus for these goals came from the Paris Agreement.

The major players that contribute to industrial emissions in T&T appear to be onboard with achieving the outlined objectives. Both NGC and T&TEC gave excellent presentations that signaled their commitment to the process.  Having said that, there was no clear indication from the Power Generators (Powergen, TGU and Trinity Power) regarding whether they would be open to switching all their generation units to the more efficient combined cycle option. At the moment TGU uses a combined cycle facility.

On a couple occasions it became glaringly obvious that two key things must happen before any action is taken; revisions must be made to the T&TEC Act and the Regulated Industries Act. Such revisions will allow individuals to feed their excess (renewable) energy on to the national grid.  In this regard we are relying on Government Ministries to jump-start the process, or to put it another way, to remove the legal obstacles.

Other areas for improvement include government or agency incentives for individuals wishing to switch their homes or cars over to green or renewable energy sources. The cost of solar panels and wind turbines is substantial. Infrastructure also needs to be put in place e.g. charging ports for electric or hybrid vehicles, or CNG stations for cars wishing to switch from traditional gas or diesel tanks to CNG.

Info on the conference:
http://energynow.tt/clean-energy-conference/

I invested my money to hear Mr. Bob Dudley, Group Chief Executive, BP PLC, speak at the Energy Chamber Breakfast Presentation before the recent AGM.  That was a great decision!  His projection for global energy growth (36% by 2030, with natural gas being the fastest growing fuel) certainly caught my interest.

Mr. Dudley said that T&T’s LNG is ranked 6th in the world and is responsible for 17% of BP’s world production, and will not be blown away by USA shale gas.  New technologies are unlocking reserves, discovered decades ago, but previously inaccessible.  Encouraged by the potential of the Columbus Basin – offshore and onshore – BP is investing $6 billion in this country.  He expects increased investment in exploration, encouraged by new and competitive tax incentives.  Local maintenance work is showing increased efficiencies and safety, and production will be normalised by 2014.  T&T’s model of using gas for downstream industries “punches above its weight” globally and other countries are examining what we do to apply to their own industries.

With regard to the hot topic of Local Content, Mr. Dudley assured us that BP’s policy is to use local content, but added that local companies should themselves be open to international business.  He also commented that there are more Trinis working for BP globally than there are expats working for BP in Trinidad!

Afterwards, the Minister of Energy, the Honorable Kevin Ramnarine, mentioned the often quoted statement “when BP sneezes, Trinidad catches a cold”.  Well, perhaps the converse is “When BP smiles, Trinidad laughs”.   I know I am very happy!

Continuing my series of blogs of the Energy Chamber’s Local Content & Capability Development Forum last November, the feature speaker was The Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs, the Honourable Kevin Ramnarine.  The minister was very upbeat about the prospects of the local energy industry, citing the unprecedented number of foreign contracts for deep water exploration and the 32.4% growth in the energy services sector.  Advance planning by Central Bank, to cope with the huge loss of upstream tax revenues during the recent turnaround, was handled so well that the population barely noticed.  The Ministry is aiming for a much needed Local Content bill in 2014 to set up indigenous human resources and improve the industrial capability of the country.  The minister urged local service companies to stand up and deliver to standards at least as good as their foreign counterparts.  The ministry is also working on a Natural Gas Master Plan for the period 2014-2024 to chart the course forward.

This is very encouraging support from the ministry but there is so much to do and an election could reverse all advances made.  Let’s hope that much can be achieved in the coming year.

At the recent Energy Chamber’s Local Content & Capability Development Forum, Mr. Roger Packer, Chairman of the Energy Chamber, opened the proceedings by warning of the effect of the “Great Crew Change” due to baby boomers retiring in their droves.  This will leave a shortage of skills in the industry (CRS is here to help!).   He praised the service companies for their coordination and successful handling of the 2013 maintenance down time (turnaround) of several plants in Point Lisas, though this exposed a dearth of certain skills.

Mr. Packer spoke about several initiatives of the Energy Chamber, including:

  • the Safe-To-Work-Programme (STOW) which creates a Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) certification to be acquired by all local energy services companies
  •  the Energy Industry Competency Initiative (EICDI) to prove to operators that a local company has a competent workforce
  • the Energy Chamber’s Learning Centre which is a modern facility that offers training and assessments to the Energy sector with an emphasis on HSE.

The Chamber is certainly working hard to ensure that the benefits of our oil and gas bounty are shared by the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

I will be issuing brief blogs on each of the other speakers as well as my personal impressions of the event over the next few weeks.  To read these blogs please follow us on our company LinkedIn page: http://www.linkedin.com/company/caribbean-resourcing-solutions-ltd?trk=biz-companies-cym or subscribe to our website blogs at http://www.crsoilandgasjobs.com/newsletter/ by scrolling down the side bar.

Last November, I trekked down to Claxton Bay to attend the Energy Chamber’s Local Content & Capability Development Forum.  There was a Who’s Who of T&T’s Energy Services leaders in attendance.  The panelists were eloquent and passionate.   As I am new to the Energy Chamber and not in the industry per se (my company, Caribbean Resourcing Solutions (CRS), provides recruiting services for the sector), I made copious notes.

I will be issuing brief blogs on each of the speakers as well as my personal impressions of the event over the next few weeks.  I know there has already been a lot of reporting on some of the speeches in the newspapers but I suspect some people might appreciate a précis as they don’t have time to read the full article.  Watch this space!