Imbert Must Explain why Bank Cuts Customers Forex Spending

Spread the love

THE announcement by Republic Bank to cut its foreign exchange allowance to credit card holders in half will affect small businesses and many other persons who have transactions and ties abroad.

This is according to Member of Parliament for Oropouche West Davendranath Tancoo who blamed the government for mismanaging the economy.

He said, Parents with children studying abroad, persons going abroad for medical reasons, distance-learning students who are based in Trinidad and Tobago and enrolled in programmes from foreign universities are also going to be penalised by this slash in foreign exchange availability.”

During the Opposition press conference on Sunday, Tancoo called for explanations from Finance Minister Colm Imbert as to what exactly caused the bank to inform customers on Friday that effective September 21, 2023, the US-dollar credit card limit would be reduced from US$10,000 to US$5,000.

Neil Transport Services

“Under this Government we have lost $4.2 billion in foreign exchange reserves over the last eight years,” Tancoo said.

He added, “Republic Bank’s action is a direct result of foreign exchange shortage. This Government has failed to attract a sustained inflow of foreign investment to TT.”

With SME’s being hit, this may prompt a foreign exchange black market which would result in higher business costs to consumers, Tancoo said.

Tancoo parliamentary colleague Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally had expressed similar sentiments that small businesses will suffer greatly.

In a media release on Saturday, Rambally said, “SMEs in Chaguanas West as well as those across the nation which heavily depend on their credit card facility to purchase imported goods and pay their suppliers now face the grave prospect of having their entire businesses destroyed by this unanimous decision taken by Republic Bank, which has a monopoly position in the country’s foreign exchange market, since it receives the largest share of the Central Bank’s sales of forex to banks.”

Tancoo claimed that government’s economic failures included the stalled Dragon Field gas deal with Venezuela.

He said, “For the last six years the Prime Minister misled and gave false hope to this country that this Dragon gas deal would provide a supply of gas. They held out Dragon Gas to the population as an absolute solution, the magic pill for this country’s economic collapse.

“They did nothing to grow the economy because they pegged this country’s future on Dragon gas and now even after six years of failure to achieve a single cubic inch of Dragon gas the Prime Minister and his minions are still selling this country dreams that magically next year gas will come. It’s not gas that is coming – it’s gaslighting!”

Tancoo said the downstream sector of Point Lisas will face a massive exodus when companies cannot get gas which meant that jobs, forex, revenue and economic growth will be reduced.

And he claimed, that under this administration, the Central Bank sold US$12 billion in foreign exchange to “authorised dealers” including US$837 million this year.

He said legislation should be put in place so that recipients would be made public.

“The lack of transparency in foreign exchange allocation has been used by this Government to promote specific business interests at the expense of others,” Tancoo said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *