Last year ANSA McAL Ltd invested more than $1.5 billion in its manufacturing sector and plans to spend another $500 million by the end of 2010. Speaking at the India-T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s business forum on trade talks between the two countries last Friday, Gerry Brooks, chief operating officer, ANSA McAL, said the manufacturing sector was at a defining moment. Hence, the talks between T&T and India were timely for joint venturing with appropriately-structured Indian firms which can provide a platform for the transfer of skills and technology while effectively using local content, Brooks said. “The country has to deepen and accelerate the diversification of the nations’ earnings and move away from the dependence of oil and gas.”
He said it was critical that T&T realised the capacity of the manufacturing and construction sectors as catalysts for further growth. He said the Group has seen the benefits from its investments in these areas. “There must be a collaborative effort between the Government, labour and the private sector in order to advance the manufacturing sector,” Brooks said. “We need to collaborate on how to get the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to grow in size and to become more internationally competitive.” This was important because many of the region markets have contracted and many SMEs in the manufacturing sector were small by international standards, he said.
While ANSA McAL has the capacity and the capital to make these significant investments due to its size and scale, Brooks said they all have to work together for SMEs to become larger entities in terms of global competitiveness. Brooks noted that certain conditions must be taken into consideration, including increased productivity levels at the work place. This should translate into better compensation, but pricing levels were still too high and people’s skill levels need to be improved to match.
(Taken from the Trinidad Guardian – http://guardian.co.tt/ – in a news feature by DIXIE-ANN DICKSON)