Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce CEO, Gabriel Faria

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The T&T Chamber is in the process of planning an information session for its members in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) following the novel coronavirus outbreak.

It is also conducting a survey with its members, both manufacturers to importers to get possible feedback on any supply chain challenges and to identify solutions to mitigate stock outs, said the Chamber’s CEO Gabriel Faria.

“We have also engaged the Ministry of Health to attend so we can ensure we provide fact based guidance and dispel all the rumours around preventative actions and dealing with it.

“Based on our various discussions with the Ministry of Health and PAHO we are comforted in knowing that once we are prepared we have the ability to mitigate the widespread impact COVID-19 has had in some other countries,” Faria added.

He said the most important aspect is understanding the facts around personal hygiene.

Faria noted recent initiatives by the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Health to engage the private sector on the impact COVID-19 can have on businesses’ supply chain.

“I was very impressed with the approach the Trade Minister and her team took not just reaching out to the various stakeholders but in the research her team did prior to the meeting.

“They had significant data available and we were able to have a constructive discussion which will proactively help us to deal with potential stock outs of raw materials and finished goods imports,” Faria said.

He also commended the Health Ministry, noting there were pre-meetings held with key suppliers.

“Again discussions revolved around corrective actions such as identifying alternate suppliers and prioritizing items which were key in dealing with the virus.

“This highlights the power and positive outcomes collaboration between government and the private sector could bring to the economy and to citizens,” Faria added.