Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a twin island country situated off the northern edge of South America mainland, lying 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and 130 kilometers (81 miles) south of Grenada. Bordering the Caribbean to the north, it shares maritime boundaries with other nations including Barbados to the northeast, Grenada to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west. Trinidad and Tobago lies outside of the hurricane belt.
At present, there are eight commercial banks operating in Trinidad and Tobago with an extensive network of 123 branches. The commercial banks remain the single largest group of financial institutions in terms of assets. Two of the locally owned banks have established a commercial presence in various territories in the Caribbean.
There has been considerable growth in the use of ATMs for the provision of banking services, and there are now 254 ATMs in the country (an average of 1 ATM per 5000 persons). Banks have also been providing telephone and Internet banking services. Four banks share a linked network of ATMs and debit point-of-sale operations. Banks now offer a relatively sophisticated menu of services. There is some blurring of the distinction between banks and nonbanks and many banks offer a variety of innovative financial products, including retirement plans denominated in US currency, individual annuity plans, and mutual funds including offshore equity funds. Banks are also playing a central role in the development of the money market. Currently, the following commercial banks exist in Trinidad and Tobago; Bank of Baroda, Citi bank (Trinidad and Tobago Ltd), First Caribbean International Bank, First Citizens, Inter commercial Bank Ltd, RBC Royal Bank, Republic Bank Ltd, and Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago Limited. All the commercial banks are members of the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago with the two newest members being the Bank of Baroda and First Caribbean International Bank having joined in 2008.
|Agriculture||Cocoa, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables, poultry & sugar.|
|Manufacture||petroleum, asphalt, natural gas, petro chemicals, iron & steel.|
|Services (Including financial)||42% (2013 estimate)|
|Agricultural Development of Trinidad & Tobago||Banking|
|Atlas Engineering Limited||Construction|
|Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago||Banking|
|Atlantic LNG||Oil & gas|
The Securities Market, which informally existed in Trinidad & Tobago for well over twenty years prior to the opening of the Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange, really achieved significance in the early 1970s when Government decided as a matter of policy to localize the foreign-owned commercial banking and manufacturing sectors of the economy. The thrust of the policy was to get such companies to divest and sell a majority of their shares to nationals. Two bodies chosen to effect this policy were the Capital Issues Committee which was set up by the Ministry of Finance in July 1970 to direct developments in the primary market and the Call Exchange (an association of share dealers) which was established under the umbrella of the Central Bank in August 1965 to monitor activities in the secondary market. Parallel to this development in the public sector in the early 1970s was the rapid establishment of private institutions such as trust companies and stock broking firms to satisfy the demands of investors in both the primary and secondary markets. With such infrastructure in place and the concomitant increase in the securities business, the decision was taken to establish a securities market within a framework of established Rules and Regulations to facilitate the development of the domestic capital market.
The establishment of the Stock Exchange under the provisions of the Securities Industry Act 1981 was a natural extension of the policy to formalize the securities market in Trinidad and Tobago. This Act was proclaimed on the 23rd October 1981 and the Stock Exchange was formally opened on the 26th October 1981 under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance. Over the years and leading up to the current time, there was no doubt that the original Securities Law, that is, The Securities Industry Act, 1981 became ineffective. In attempting to bring both primary and secondary market activity under one umbrella, the Act created confusion, and for the most part, the provisions were unenforceable. This was because the Exchange as a regulatory Organization had no discretion to reasonably moderate the strict and unreasonable application of the letter of the Act once a particular provision was not explicitly stated in the Act. The Ministry of Finance, in recognizing this problem, worked with the Exchange to introduce a more dynamic piece of legislation. As a remedial measure, the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, passed legislation repealing the 1981 Act and replacing it with the Securities Industry Act of 1995 which brought into operation the establishment of a Securities and Exchange Commission.
The 2007/2008 Global Financial Crisis and economic recession impacted on the Government of Trinidad and Tobago fiscal operations and shaped fiscal policy in the years to follow. This paper seeks to determine the impact the global financial crisis had on the Government’s fiscal accounts and the policy measures that were implemented as a result of the crisis. The article also discusses the collapse of CLICO and the impact it had on the public sector debt. The results show that the fiscal accounts were hit hardest in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 due to a fall in energy prices. In addition, the fiscal accounts recorded deficits thereafter due to the provision of fiscal stimulus to help boost economic activity. However, due to the large fiscal buffers built up during the pre-crisis period, higher Government spending did not have a significant impact on public debt. The increase in the debt to GDP ratio after the crisis was largely due to the Government’s bailout of the failed CLICO. During the period 2003-2008, Trinidad and Tobago experienced robust economic growth of an annual average rate of 8 percent, with growth peaking at 13.3 percent in 2006. Mainly the boom in the hydrocarbon sector drove this growth momentum but there were also spillover effects on the non- energy sector (which grew by an annual average rate of 6.2 percent). The unemployment rate fell to a historic low of 4.6 percent in 2008 from 10.3 percent in 2003. Within this context, the Central Government’s fiscal accounts performed favorably. The Government achieved fiscal surpluses for each of the years under review and were as large as $12.1 billion (7.3 percent of GDP) in 2008. This contributed to the accumulation of sizeable cash buffers in the Government’s cash balances at the Central Bank, which increased from $4.2 billion in FY2003 to $17.7 billion in FY2008. Additionally, the Central Government formalized the Interim Revenue and Stabilization Fund through the establishment of the Heritage and Stabilization Fund (HSF) in March 2007 and deposited US$2,899 million into this fund as at the end of FY2008. The Central Government revenues grew from $16.8 billion in FY2003 to $56.8 billion in FY2008 and were mainly driven by elevated energy commodity prices. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices rose from US$31.34 per barrel in 2003 to US$99.63 per barrel (WTI) in 2008, while natural gas prices increased from US$5.53 Henry Hub (HH) to US$8.86 Henry Hub (HH). Growth in the domestic economy also boosted non-energy revenue collections, in particular, receipts from the Value Added Tax (VAT). The strong revenue flows were accompanied by a sharp rise in Government spending. Total Central Government expenditure rose from $15.8 billion in the FY2003 to $45.7 billion in FY2008, increasing annually by about 23.2 percent. The largest increases were recorded in transfers and subsidies (mainly pensions, petroleum subsidy payments and transfers to statutory bodies and state enterprises) and capital expenditure, which grew at an annual average rate of 50 percent during the period as the state, pursued an aggressive infrastructural development programme.
The effects of the global financial crisis (GFC) were transmitted to the Caribbean region through four (4) main channels: international trade, tourism, remittances, and FDI inflows. Trinidad and Tobago’s heavy dependence on hydrocarbon exports meant that the main channel of impact was through international trade. The decline in energy prices coupled with the reduction in demand in major developed countries, in particular, the US, led to total exports declining by more than 50 percent to US$9.2 billion in 2009 from US$18.6 billion in 2008. Exports to the other main market, the CARICOM region, also fell sharply (by 58 percent) due to weak consumer demand as most CARICOM countries experienced a slowdown in economic activity. As total exports fell, the current account balance in Trinidad and Tobago deteriorated from a surplus of 31.3 per cent of GDP in 2008 to a surplus of 8.3 percent in 2009. Gross official reserves, although remaining at a relatively high level, fell by US$192.9 million to US$11,390.9 million (11.9 months of import cover) in 2009. The decline in energy prices also affected the fiscal accounts through lower revenues as energy revenues (which accounted for 57 percent of total government revenues in FY2008) fell by 40.5 percent in FY2009, the fiscal balance declined from a surplus of $12.1 billion to a deficit of $6.7 billion.
Against the backdrop of the decline in trade flows and the worsening of the fiscal accounts, Trinidad and Tobago were faced with the collapse of its largest insurance company, the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO). This signaled the potential loss of investments for a large number of individuals, corporate and public pension schemes, and financial institutions. In an effort to prevent a systematic crisis, maintain investors’ confidence in the financial system and to avoid possible negative effects on the economy the Trinidad and Tobago authorities intervened in January 2009 announcing a financial support package for CLICO and two other domestic subsidiaries. After several proposals were put forward by the government for the restructuring of CLICO, in its Budget Statement for FY2011, a revised restructuring plan was established. The plan allowed for CLICO depositors to receive cash payments up to a maximum of $75,000 and the remaining liabilities would be paid in the form of zero-coupon bonds with maturities of 1-20 years. Depositors holding 1-10 year bonds would have the option to sell the bonds to any commercial bank at the current market rate of interest while the 11-20 year bonds could be exchanged at their face value for units in the CLICO Investment Fund (CIF) which was to be established for the holding of RBL shares owned by CLICO. The revised plan also incorporated a bailout to the failed Hindu Credit Union (HCU). The majority of policyholders agreed with this proposal and the plan became tenable. The fiscal cost of the CLICO bailout has been significant.
The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 to the capitulation of the Spanish Governor, Don José Maria Chacón, on the arrival of a British fleet of 18 warships on 18 February 1797. During the same period, the island of Tobago changed hands among Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Courlander colonizers, more times than any other island in the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago (remaining separate until 1889) were ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens. The country Trinidad and Tobago obtained independence in 1962, becoming a republic in 1976.
Trinidad and Tobago is the third richest country by GDP (PPP) per capita in the Americas after the United States and Canada. Furthermore, the World Bank recognizes it as a high-income economy. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, the country's economy is primarily industrial, with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals. The country's wealth attributes to its large reserves and exploitation of oil and natural gas. Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas. Trinidad and Tobago is known for its Carnival and is the birthplace of steel pan, limbo, and the music styles of calypso, soca , Parang and chutney. Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence from the United Kingdom on 31 August 1962. Elizabeth II remained head of state as Queen of Trinidad and Tobago. Eric Williams, a noted Caribbean historian, widely regarded as "The Father of The Nation," was the first Prime Minister; he served from 1956, before independence, until his death in 1981. The presence of American military bases in Chaguaramas and Cumuto in Trinidad during World War II profoundly changed the character of society. In the post-war period, the wave of decolonization that swept the British Empire led to the formation of the West Indies Federation in 1958 as a vehicle for independence. Chaguaramas was the proposed site for the federal capital. The Federation dissolved after the withdrawal of Jamaica, and the government chose to seek independence on its own.
(Civil rights activist)
The manat is the currency of Turkmenistan. It was introduced on 1 November 1993, replacing the Russian ruble at a rate of 1 manat = 500 rubles. The ISO 4217 code was TMM, and the manat was subdivided into 100 tenge. The abbreviation m is sometimes used, e.g., 25 000 m is twenty-five thousand manat.
On January 1, 2009, the new manat was introduced with ISO 4217 code TMTat the rate of 5000 old manat to 1 new manat. In 1993, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 tenge. The 1, 5 and 10 tenge were struck in copper-plated-steel, with the higher denominations in nickel-plated-steel. This first series of coins was short-lived as their metal value soon became worth more than their actual face value. After a period of high inflation, new coins of 500 and 1,000 manat were introduced in 1999. All coins of this period had to depict a picture of the president by law. During the monetary reform of 2009, new coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 tenge were issued with bimetallic 1 and 2 manats following in 2010. The 1, 2, and 5 tenge are nickel-plated steel while the 10, 20, and 50 tenge are made of brass. Instead of depicting the current head of state the coins feature a map of Turkmenistan with the Independence Tower superimposed in front of it. All circulating coins of Turkmenistan have been minted by the Royal Mint In 1993, manat notes were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 manat, replacing the Soviet ruble. These were followed by notes for 1,000 manat in 1995 and 5,000 and 10,000 manat in 1996. In 2005, a new series of notes was introduced in denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 manat. All notes, with exception to only the 1 and 5 manats bear a portrait of former president Saparmurat Niyazov. All Turkmen banknotes are produced by the De La Rue printing and Banknote Company.In 2005, a new series of manat banknotes were introduced.
They had originally been intended to replace the first manat at a fixed rate, with 1000 equal to 1 of the first manat, but the revaluation was postponed and the issue released to circulate with previous manat issues. The series of notes was introduced in denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 manat. Two new coins were also introduced in only two denominations, 500 and 1,000 manat. Both the first and second issue manat banknotes circulated in tandem until the issue of the Second Manat (revalued) issue in 2009. After hyperinflation significantly devalued the currency, a new manat with a fixed exchange rate was introduced, replacing the old manat on a ratio of 5000 OM = 1 NM. The banknotes are printed in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 new manat. As part of an effort by the Turkmen government to dismantle the Niyazov cult of personality and help politically disambiguate the current rule, only the highest valued banknote, 500 manat, bears a portrait of the former leader. The 500 manat notes have not yet been released into circulation. The other denominations feature images of buildings in Ashgabat and portraits of Ahmed Sanjar, Oghuz Khan, Magtymguly Pyragy and other figures in Turkmen history.
|National Song||"Forged from the Love of Liberty"|
|Currency||Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||43.553 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||-1.8 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$31870.289 (PPP)|
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
1.4% Other Religions
Indian (South Asian) 40%
President – Paula-Mae Weekes
Prime Minister – Keith Rowley
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||61.006 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||3.853 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|