Trinidad minister blames elections for foreign exchange shortage

Port of Spain, Trinidad — Trade Minister Vasant Bharath has described the current shortage of foreign exchange in Trinidad and Tobago as a typical phenomenon of a pre-election period. General elections are due to be held on September 7.

He said that, during every election period, residents tend to hold on to their foreign exchange and it creates bottlenecks in the system.

“The issue is not that there is not sufficient foreign exchange coming into the system,” he said. “The records have shown that the Governor of the Central Bank and the Central Bank itself have put almost twice as much foreign exchange coming into the system for the corresponding periods of 2014 and 2013. I think it was over a billion dollars put into the system.

“It is really a question of every election period there is anxiety displayed by the population and what happens is that you do not get the same amount of inflows of foreign exchange coming back into the system being converted into TT dollars and people are holding on to their foreign exchange.”

Bharath said the policies the Central Bank is putting in place, which is to put more foreign exchange into the system, will continue to strengthen the system.

“I think they are due to put US$100 million into the system and we expect after the election the matter will be freed up completely,” he noted.

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