WITCO invests $85 million to modernize its plant and improve the skills of its workforce

West Indian Tobacco (WITCO), a local manufacturer and sole regional distributor of/for tobacco products within CARICOM, has modernized its manufacturing plant operations and upgraded its workforce with an investment valued at approximately TT$85 million.

Speaking at the plant’s recommissioning and inauguration ceremony on Friday, WITCO Managing Director Laurent Meffre noted that the upgrades were ambitious, especially amid the uncertainties facing the country. confronted with.

He said, however, that the bold move is a clear demonstration of the organization’s promise of a better future, not just as a corporate message, but as a commitment to the recovery and growth of the national economy, and the caliber of “made in Trinidad” business. and Tobago”, both locally and in the regional export market.

He said, “As a revenue generator, Forex net earner, responsible employer and corporate citizen focused on sustainability and national development, we care about the future of this country and its rebirth. As we enter the endemic phase of the pandemic, we see a bright future ahead of us. WITCO has always supported the country’s economic program and the government’s emphasis on diversification and investment. We also support the national ‘Vaccinate to Operate’ campaign, a partnership with the TTMA, to boost vaccinations in the business community. »

Meffre further commended the ongoing partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Manufacturers Association of Trinidad and Tobago and others for its deep-rooted relationships and shared goals for growth and development.

He said: “We also continue to be reassured by the important steps and measures taken by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Government to curb the escalation of illicit trade in all its forms through the formation of the group national anti-illicit work Tarde. ”

WITCO Manufacturing Manager Taran Persad said the organization remains committed to innovation and introducing new products that deliver both value and satisfaction.

He said: “Equipment upgrades that will fall directly into the category of adding consumer value into our product offerings will enable us to revolutionize our brands, portfolio and formats in alignment with global trends and enable us to offer the consumer more value for money. We take great pride in leading the way in this industry. We have done this successfully for more than a century and intend to continue to do so as we move full steam ahead towards a better future for our organization and this country.

“As we move into 2022, these equipment upgrades coupled with a skilled, committed and well-prepared operations team will serve to strengthen our capabilities as a key and sustainable source of manufacturing, underpinned by a robust strategy encompassing cultural transformation. and employee ownership of our commitment to our A Better Tomorrow stakeholders,” he remarked.

Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister for Trade and Industry, said she was encouraged to witness the growth and success of private sector businesses, as it signals the inherent commitment to propel and sustain the national economic growth.

She said: “The installation of this new equipment will now position the company as a contingent supplier to South and Central America. I congratulate WITCO for taking this initiative, which would allow you to access new markets and indicate that the government will provide the required support if necessary. »

Among the initiatives taken by the government to help the private sector are the introduction and strict control of special economic zones and the fight against illicit trade.

Minister Gopee-Scoon said, “Illicit trade is an issue that has become the focus of many governments, international organizations, businesses and non-governmental organizations around the world. Trinidad and Tobago has seen an increase in the presence of illegally traded consumer goods such as tobacco, alcohol, and cleaning products in the local market.

Also present at the plant recommissioning and inauguration ceremony were Ayleen Alleyne-Ovid, Permanent Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry; Anthony E. Phillip, Chairman of the Board of The West Indian Tobacco Company; Arturo Rodriguez Lordmendez, board member of The West Indian Tobacco Company; Tricia Coosal, President, Manufacturers Association of Trinidad and Tobago; Ramesh Ramdeen, CEO, Manufacturers Association of Trinidad and Tobago and Ian de Souza, Managing Director, Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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