Despite the December 31, 2019 deadline given by the Central Bank to have the old $100 notes changed to the new polymer bill, some businesses have already stopped accepting the old bill.
President of the Supermarkets Association Rajiv Diptee said while such as a decision is up to the individual businesses he said the decision to implement the new notes could not come at a worse time given the very hectic Christmas season.
“While we are advising our members to respect the law our members have expressed concern regarding cash in transit for instance if they wait until December 31 to rush to carry their monies to the bank.
“We have not received any directive from the Central Bank or the Bankers Association if businesses will be given an extended grace period to change over their cash,” Diptee explained.
He said supermarkets have already spent a great deal of money on inventory and there is the additional concern that stock will be left on their hands.
“We are trying to push really hard for supermarkets to have a good season but if there is a liquidity crush people may have less money to spend,” Diptee added.
Chairman of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Gabriel Faria described the change as great move but also questioned the need to implement the new bill during the hectic end of year time.
“It may have been better to schedule it at a less hectic time of the year but the authorities may have been told by some experts that this time is more conducive to collect the old currency based on the amount of cash in circulation,” he said.
On its Facebook page island Hobbies issued a notice to its customers that it is no longer accepting the old $100 note.
“Due to the unfortunate circumstances to the retail industry at Xmas time concerning the short time line to change conventional $100 to the new bill, we have no choice but to put a deadline to our establishment in accepting the old notes. “Our Shop especially, remains very busy through the season and well into the new year and the ridiculous time line is inadequate. Therefore, our cut off in accepting the old $100 note is Sunday December 15, 2019. After which we will no longer be accepting the old note,” the notice said.
While apologising for any inconvenience caused Island Hobbies noted that the move by Government has created “an unrealistic inconvenience that has been forced down the throats of all citizens.”
The decision by Island Hobbies have been met with both criticism and support on the part of some citizens.
While some noted that the business has to do what ever it can to secure its future and that of its employees others however, commented that Island Hobbies was being “ridiculous.”
“I hope people who shopping with cash will find other stores. You worse than the Government,” another person commented.
Other businesses have decided to stop accepting the old notes by the end of next week or early the following week.
Living Waters on Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain is expected to stop accepting the old notes by next Friday.
Business-owners said they were left with little or no choice but to implement such drastic measures.
“It is really difficult if not unrealistic for businesses to wait to the very end..December 31...to change their cash. It is simply impossible because we will be left with old money on our hands.
“People with counterfeit cash will also want to dump that on us and what will be our situation then?” one business owner asked.
He said while he welcomed the move to introduce the new security features in the local currency, he believed there should have been more consultation with the business community.