Storm clouds, dark and ominous have enveloped the economic landscape. The price of oil is falling and with it optimism and high hopes.
Finance and Economy Minister Larry Howai last week in a statement to the House of Representatives announced that ministries will be ordered to review spending in light of an oil price beneath that budgeted.
“Ministries will therefore be required to review their budgets to determine areas where expenditure can be suppressed,” Howai said.
“The ministry will continue to monitor what is happening in the global environment and to refine our remedial fiscal measures to ensure that the country can respond appropriately to changes in the market for oil and gas.”
National sport organisations in T&T are impacted by the economy. Any reduction in revenue must be of concern to national sport organisations.
The Finance Minister indicated that all ministries must immediately reduce their expense by 45 million dollars each. He also indicated that further adjustments may be necessary as the situation continues.
National sport organisations must have conversations with their membership to prepare for the volatility that can be expected in light of the economic realities.
From a strategic management perspective, not many national sport organisations would have made allowances for the threat posed by falling oil prices.
In fact most national sport organisations have indicated that they were already faced with significant cuts based on what they had budgeted and submitted.
Sport administrators have suggested that they will have to take drastic measures in respect of their plans and programmes.
The next 12 months are critical in the context of Rio 2016 Olympics.
Any drastic curtailing of programmes and plans to properly prepare this country’s elite and high performance athletes and national teams will prove detrimental and may well put an end to any realistic chances of qualifying for Rio 2016 and for those who do qualify, hamper hopes of winning a coveted medal.
Uncertainty for national sport organisations and athletes can prove distracting but it need not derail efforts to achieve podium targets.
Overcoming the financial challenges will not be easy but remaining positive and determined is the perfect antidote.
Falling oil prices highlight the downside of the dependency on oil and gas as the main pillar of the economy.
Sport presents a number of opportunities and regardless of the price of oil, life will go on.
National sport organisations that are able to forge the appropriate strategic response will cope with the turbulence.
The main concern will be for our athletes. It will be the responsibility of the sport administrators to negate the pitfalls.
The importance of a well-structured resource allocation process becomes a critical success factor. How will national sport organisations invest resources? How will national sport organisations evaluate if its resource allocation is effective?
Falling oil prices and austerity measures need not be detrimental to national sport organisations and athletes. In fact it may well turn out to be a positive turning point for resource allocation within the T&T sport ecosystem.
In a very real sense falling oil prices and the adverse impact on the economy while troubling, presents the opportunity for national sport organisations to become more strategic.
• Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.