Economist Dr Indera Sagewan advises Government, not only to maintain expenditure, but to consider repositioning where the spending occurs.

The Covid-19 outbreak has had devastating effects on the world economy and if the virus’ impacts are intensified – it can mean negative global growth for the first quarter of 2020.

This according to Dr Indera Sagewan, who was citing data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Speaking at a Business Luncheon hosted by the Shipping Association of T&T, Sagewan said: “There’s the anticipation that if the pandemic worsens, global growth can fall to 1.5 per cent.”

According to the OECD, this virus presents the biggest danger to the global economy since the financial crisis of 2009 and is projected to cause a slowdown in global growth to under two per cent.

Sagewan said this means that the world economy will be pushed into a global recession. She said the global economy was bordering on recession in 2019 with a growth rate of 2.9 per cent but the anticipation was that positive growth would have reversed the outcomes of recession in 2020.

However, Sagewan asserted: “Now what we are seeing in 2020 that is going to be worsened, in fact, there’s an anticipation that there is going to be negative growth in the first quarter of 2020.”

Sagewan asserted that this disrupts supply chains, especially with countries that are tied to China – and the entire world, in terms of production, is tied to China. She highlighted that the novel coronavirus has had a crippling impact on trade.

Also speaking at the event was Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan, who said that the government is monitoring the developments as it related to Covid-19.

He said: “We are prepared and have taken all practical steps, for example suspending the arrival of cruise ships to our shores.”

Sinanan said that the government cares about the citizens of T&T, nonetheless, he expressed that some of the decisions made will affect the shipping industry. He indicated: “at the end of the day, we have a responsibility to protect the citizens of this country.”

The Minister admitted that there are challenges in the industry, in areas like the yachting sector. He continued: “A lot of our ports are not secured the way we would like to see them secured – this is going to be a challenging time for us as a country.”

The Minister also announced that the country is at the final stage of acquiring an international consultancy firm to build T&T’s maritime industry.

He noted that the consultant would be coming into T&T next month.