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New Chamber head concerned about issues affecting businesses

Published: 
Thursday, December 7, 2017

Shastri Boodan

The Couva Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce (CPLCC) has voiced concern about a number of issues negatively affecting the business community including the economic downturn, increasing crime, the lack of foreign exchange, and the impact of the T&T Revenue Authority (TTRA).

Highlighting them as he addressed the CPLCC's annual Christmas dinner on Tuesday, newly-elected president Ramchan Rajbal Maraj likened crime to a "runaway horse."

He said the effects of crime was taking a toll on T&T generally.

Rajbal Maraj pointed to the recent robbery of a prominent Couva businesswoman who was robbed of more than $200,000 in merchandise.

He said “ In view of this, I call on the Minister of National Security to implement a greater surveillance policy for the Christmas and Carnival Season."

"While the Government is asking the business community to invest to build our community, they must create the atmosphere of confidence and comfort with respect to safety so that local and international businesses can be attracted to bringing investments to our country with the purpose of facilitating growth and stability to the economy.”

Rajbal Maraj said they were concerned as to how the proposed TTRA-model would operate.

He said “It has raised the trepidations and discomfort among us as businesses and individuals.”

He revealed that various business chambers planned to host a national conversation on these matters on December 14 at the CPLCC.

Rajbal Maraj said businesses were fighting a daily battle to survive, coupled with the challenge of obtaining foreign exchange.

He admitted, “Lay-offs and cut-backs have become the norm in some cases, while some business enterprises have folded up and ceased operating."

"Employees are being asked to take salary cuts and in several cases, receiving their salaries quite late."

Rajbal Maraj said, "Moreover, the policy of attrition has become the new norm and single employees are forced to double up and manage job tasks that are designed for two persons. The national workforce is now living in a state of dystopia.”

Kama Maharaj, CEO of Sacha Cosmetics referred to the challenges and benefits of e-commerce.

Maharaj said his company has had to look at working in different markets to push its products, especially in Latin America.

He said internet marketing company Amazon, was now the largest platform for marketing products on the internet.

He encouraged other businesses in the manufacturing sector to get on board with Amazon which he described as the future of retail sales.