High Energy Costs Affecting Regional Private Sector – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

A senior Caribbean Community (CARICOM) official has disclosed that high energy costs and reliability remain significant constraints on the Caribbean’s private-sector operations.

Joseph Cox, CARICOM’s Assistant Secretary General, spoke at the Caribbean Poultry Association’s 7th annual international technical symposium.

He told Tuesday’s event in Trinidad and Tobago that electricity costs in the Caribbean are nearly triple the average in the United States.

Cox disclosed that, except for Trinidad and Tobago, demand for electricity in the Region exceeds supply.

 The CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General noted that disruptions in the electricity supply are not uncommon.

In addition to high energy costs, Cox spoke of the need to achieve the requisite transformation of the Regional poultry sector by focusing on re-tooling and reinvestment.

He highlighted providing greater access to affordable capital and financing, including trade financing, to incentivize the entrepreneurial classes to undertake the risk that accompanies economic progress.

However, Cox told his audience that the Region continues to perform sub-optimally, with indicators for registering property, access to credit, and the cost of finance being perennial problems.

Discussing potential solutions, Cox suggested that measures to tackle high interest rates in the Caribbean could include improving the reformation of the respective Banking Acts.