Sunday 17 November, 2019

Opposition MP says 'no' to devaluation of TT dollar

Tabaquite MP Dr Surujrattan Rambachan is pleading with Finance Minister Colm Imbert to think hard before deciding to devalue the Trinidad and Tobago dollar.

Rambachan issued a statement on Wednesday in response to the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, who recently met with Minister Imbert to present its recommendations ahead of the 2017/2018 budget to be read on October 2nd.

The Chamber reportedly called for a more dynamic management of the exchange rate to work alongside an inflation goal.

Rambachan said he believes the Chamber’s calls to be misguided.

“The Chamber’s call for the devaluation is a self-serving call and ignores the social composition of the society and especially the ability of over 51% of the working population who earn less than $6000/monthly according to [Central Statistical Office] CSO statistics.”

Sighting the CSO, the MP pointed out that with approximately 80% of consumed items imported, the cost of living will increase phenomenally forcing adjustments upon the middle and lower income sectors of the population.  

The Opposition MP said this is “inequitable” and outlined suggestions of his own, to Minister Imbert:

Examine the sources of capital flight 

Whether the value of goods being imported are being overvalued 

Goods and services which can and must be substituted 

The workings of the parallel market for US dollars and the leakage this is causing in terms of foreign exchange not being acquired by formal Financial institutions 

Implement serious programs in tourism and agriculture as  part of the diversification thrust

Alternative sources of materials as inputs into our manufacturing and retail sectors whilst maintaining quality standards 

Encourage diaspora savings in TT in US dollars 

Funding for entrepreneurs who can be part of the import substitution strategy 

Encourage Caribbean holidays in EC currency thus saving on use of US dollars 

Restructure US dollar loans by renegotiating terms of repayment in terms of principal at least  for the next five years thus reducing the outflow of US dollars 

Educate the population on the current foreign exchange reality 

Consider launching a citizen-driven economic restraint strategy which will involve savings in US dollars.  

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