Newly elected TTMA President Tricia Coosal, with Minister of Trade Paula Gopee-Scoon. (Image courtesy TTMA)

The new President of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) is Tricia Coosal, who was appointed in the post following the organization’s 2021 Annual General Meeting, which was held at the Hyatt Trinidad on Wednesday, March 24th.

Tricia Coosal takes over the post from Franka Costelloe, who held the position from 2019 to 2020.  She had served as Vice President under the two (2) year tenue of Ms. Costelloe.

In her inaugural address to the membership, Ms. Coosal stated her commitment to ensuring an enabling environment is created for the business community to thrive.  She also committed to working with the Minister of Trade and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to improve the ease of doing business in this country, while outlining anticipated challenges such as illicit trade and port issues.

The new TTMA president also urged the business lobby’s membership: “to take advantage of the networking opportunities the TTMA has created in the first quarter of 2021 for some members to engage with large supermarket chains in the country, and by extension the region to substitute foreign goods with locally produced goods.”

She added: “We have worked with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and exporTT to access funding under the Export Booster Initiative recently launched by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. We tapped into this available resource to employ the services of a consultant, Mr. Joel “Monty” Pemberton.  Monty has been given one main objective to achieve, and that is to work toward growing exports in the country with the aim of doubling such by the end of 2025.  Firstly though, his priority is to move exports from the year-end 2020 figure of TT$2.3 billion to TT$2.8 billion by the end of 2021.”

She also praised manufacturers for their resilience over the past year, as the country dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“2020 was challenging for most in the business community. We were faced with an economic climate of fear and uncertainty coupled with a significant decline in the price of energy commodities.  However, given the resilient bunch we in the business community are, we survived. It is because of that resilience I must give credit to each and every one of you for sustaining your business through it all. Especially to those who achieved exponential growth,” Tricia Coosal told those gathered.

She noted that recent statistics from the Finance Ministry show the non-energy business community was the one sector that held its own in 2020. 

“In December 2020, Trinidad and Tobago’s non-energy exports did take a slight hit, moving from TT$3.6B in 2019 to TT$3.3B in 2020; this represented a 5% fall year on year. I am truly gratified of the minimal loss suffered, as many experts projected high double-digit losses for 2020. Further, when compared to other regional producers, who suffered on the average 25% drop in production, T&T producers feared well. This reality showed how resilient the TTMA members are and how vital our production, employment and exports are toward the sustenance of economic activity in the country.  Many other sectors, such as services, including tourism and energy suffered far greater losses. During this time, the non-energy manufacturing sector sustained the economy,” she stated.

She also reported that preliminary economic data for the first quarter of 2021 are encouraging.

“There seems to be an upward trend in production for some manufacturers, especially food and beverage, textile—eg. face masks production—chemical, printing and packaging sectors. Generally, exports are normalizing, and domestic sales are once again reverting to 2019 figures for some entities.  I highly anticipate that the non-energy manufacturing sector would be, at minimum, back to the 2019 export figures of TT$3.6B in the not-too-distant future,” she said, on an optimistic note.

Tricia Coosal is the 65th TTMA President since the organization’s inception in 1956.  She is the third female to be appointed to the position.  In addition to Vice-President, she has been a Director with the TTMA for the past 4 years.  She also chairs the Legislative Committee and is Vice Chair of the Infrastructure Committee.

Tricia Coosal, an Executive Director of Finance and Administration at the Coosal’s Group of Companies, holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a minor in English and a Master’s in Business Administration.  After completion of her studies, she joined the Coosal’s Group of Companies in 2011.