Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 12th 2015 Contents MARCH 2015 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COVER STORY BG5
Finance Minister Larry Howai
has suggested that the short-
age of supply in US currency
has been alleviated and,
therefore, there should not
be a problem with sourcing
US currency. He said the
Central Bank (CBTT) has been a little "more
proactive" when it comes to the supply of US
"The Governor tells me there is a little bit
of a surplus in the market now. We think,
going forward, we should be reasonably com-
fortable as far as that is concerned. You will
get the occasional hiccough because there are
always timing issues when the demand comes
in, and when the supply takes place. We still
have very strong currency reserves," Howai
said during an interview on day one of the
Caribbean Investment and Finance Forum.
More than US$1 billion was pumped into
the local market in 2014 by the CBTT.
In its February statement, the Central Bank
stated more funds were pumped into the sys-
tem and suggested that there was enough to
cover the shortfall.
According to the Central Bank:
"Demand for foreign exchange from the
business community and public totalled
US$592 million in February 2015, while supply
of foreign exchange---mainly from energy sector
companies---amounted to US$438 million.
This resulted in an overall gap of US$154 mil-
"In keeping with its strategic foreign
exchange management programme, the Central
Bank sold US$250 million to the banking sys-
tem, completely offsetting the gap and pro-
viding just over US$95 million in excess supply
to be used in early March 2015."
Concerning US-dollar contributions by the
energy sector, the bank said: "Conversions by
the energy sector contributed 71 per cent or
US$310 million to total foreign exchange inflows
for February 2015. Demand was mainly driven
• Retail and distribution (US$141 million)
• Manufacturing (US$38 million)
• Automobile (US$19 million) sectors
• Net credit card sales amounted to US$19
Participating in a panel discussion earlier,
Howai said seeking funding from local financial
institutions was the preferred choice of the
Government as there was a high risk with
debt financing obtained from financial insti-
tutions outside of T&T. He was speaking on:
"Sovereign debt and Public Finances in the
Also part of that panel was Christopher
Sinckler, Barbados Minister of Finance and
Economic Affairs. He said excess liquidity con-
tinues to be a challenge for the island. He
added that there was a need to get people to
invest in order to soak up the excess liquidity.
He, too, agreed that turning to the inter-
national financial institutions for financing is
not an option.
The Caymans Minister of Finance and Eco-
nomic Development, Marco Archer, added
that he was also coping with excess liquidity..
Chief executive officer of the Port of Port-
of-Spain (PPOS), Trudy Gill-Conlon, said the
port is well poised for investment, and investors
from Latin America and the Caribbean should
capitalise on this. Gill-Conlon added that the
port has the capacity and capability to increase
the volumes traded in T&T.
"T&T has not taken advantage---in terms of
investments---to position ourselves. There is a
lot of room for investment on the port. There
are a lot of opportunities. We definitely welcome
any type of investment.
"All the domestic cargo that is passing in and
out of the country---for manufacturing and
infrastructure projects---the longer it remains
on the port, the shipping lines pass the cost on
to the consumer. The shipping lines are interested
in moving the cargo quickly in, quickly out.
There is room for growth; whether we relocate
the port or whether we build a new port."
Gill-Conlon was part of a panel discussion
on : "Financing infrastructure and Renewable
Energy Projects in the Caribbean," at the
Caribbean Investment and Finance Forum.
Works Minister Surujrattan Rambachan---
also part of that panel---said when it comes to
investment in any project, there is need for
public/private partnerships. He added that pub-
lic/private partnerships encourage the citizens
to have a say in the development of T&T.
"This area of public/private partnership is
nothing new. There have been occasions where
the private sector partnered with the state agen-
cies. The projects were very marketable projects.
One of the areas which was not mentioned (for
public/private partnerships) was that of domestic
He added that another area where there can
be public/private partnership, is in investment
in the cocoa industry. T&T s cocoa is a high
grade one and would be a fruitful investment
in the long-term. Nadaleen Singh
Peter Clarke, TTIFC director, left, with Larry Howai, Minister of Finance and the Economy; Franco Siu Chong, TTIFC chairman; Gregory Hill, president, Securities Dealers Association of T&T; Varun
Maharaj, TTIFC CEO, and Inez Sinanan, TTIFC director, at day one of the Caribbean Investment and Finance Forum, held on March 4-5 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel.
Port of Port-of-Spain head:
We welcome any type of investment
Trudy Gill-Conlon, chief executive officer, Port
of Port-of-Spain, participating in a panel
discussion on March 4, at the Caribbean
Investment and Finance forum. Energy
Projects in the Caribbean."
Howai: No problem sourcing US currency
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