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Satt: Little change in forex supply
Supermarket owners plan to raise their concerns about ongoing foreign-exchange problems when they meet with Finance Minister Larry Howai for budget consultations. Supermarkets Association of T&T (Satt) president Vernon Persad said the Central Bank’s injection of US$100 million into the foreign exchange system on July 2, aimed at easing demand pressures during the July/August vacation period, only partially relieved problems with the supply of US currency.
“We have appealed to the Governor of the Central Bank and we have appealed to the BATT (Bankers Association of T&T), because of the consequences that could arise, such as food shortages,” Persad told the T&T Guardian. He said some Satt members had to source other suppliers to get their goods.
“We’ve had instances where our members have lost their supply base and have had to go and purchase from second hand, third hand and even fourth hand (suppliers). What does this mean? It contributes to inflation and to price increases because you have to pay their price.” He said major suppliers with which supermarkets have developed business relationships over several decades are complaining about the inability of supermarkets to satisfy their debts.
Persad said: “The market is still not fully satisfied and remember the supermarkets or food importers are competing with other customers from the banks. The bank has a business to run and they are supplying to the customers.”
Finance Minister Larry Howai speaking to reporters yesterday after the Employers’ Consultative Association pre-budget consultation said: “We have intervened with the Central Bank. We had some discussions and funds have been put in. “I think they have put in US $100m a few days ago. I think that should be able to deal with the issue. I have a session coming up with them soon with respect to the budget consultation.”