3 Off To T & T On Capacity Building

Three executive members of the Sekondi-Takoradi Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STRCCI), left Accra on Friday night on a 10-day visit to the Trinidad and Tobago. The trip was organized by the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate in Ghana with sponsorship from the Business Advocacy Challenge Fund, as part of its mandate of supporting and building capacity of businesses. Speaking to The Business Analyst at the Kotoka International Airport moments before departing Accra, the three beneficiaries, Ato Van-Ess, Vincent Annan, and Cadmond Dadzie, Western Regional Chairman, Executive Secretary, and Treasurer respectively of STRCCI, were hopeful of acquiring skills that would contribute to building the capacity of their members. “We shall try to better understand how Trinidad and Tobago got to where they are now,” Van-Ess told The Business Analyst. For Annan, “We don’t have to re-invent the wheel; if there is a model out there that works, we have to go and study it.” Dadzie is also certain to “return to Ghana with a lot of experience. For me, it is a process of learning to develop our members to participate fully in the oil and gas sector. In a pre-departure briefing, Dale Rachmeler, BUSAC Fund Manager, impressed upon the team to learn to understand why and how Trinidad and Tobago had made it and how Ghana could learn from their experience. The Honorary Consular of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency, Mr. John Mitchell disclosed to the team that in the oil and gas sector, the national oil company owned majority shares in all contracts, with the local private sector dominating the support services. He revealed that in the energy sector, Trinidad and Tobago is more into gas and downstream petrochemical industries, with the national electricity grid running on gas. He told the departing team that targets for local content are grounded in law and therefore companies strived to comply to avoid the sanctions that go with non-compliance. He said the cost for skills development and transfer, are also mandatory, with a strong regulator that ensures compliance. Explaining how Trinidad and Tobago came by the strong institutions that it has, Mr. Mitchell explained that change of government in the country did not affect the tenure of work of civil servants. On why corruption does not thrive in Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Mitchell attributed that to a vibrant freedom of information law, coupled with the fact that the civil servants earned more pay than the private sector. He revealed that over there it is mostly the private sector that lost some of its best workers to the civil service. According to Mr. Mitchell, the Consulate offered the opportunity to the Western regional executive of the Chamber because they are closest to the current oil production from the Jubilee Field, which is offshore the region. A print version of this article was published in The Business Analyst of Wednesday, May 9th – Tuesday, May 15th, 2012