Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 8th 2015 Contents Chief Executive Officer at First Citizens, Karen Darbassie, believes that
Finance Minister Colm Imbert really showed that the Government was
interested in reintroducing confidence and stability into the foreign exchange
market during his budget speech.
"I am sure that my business partners
would welcome this strong signal
sent by the minister. He is going
to be ensuring protection of the
exchange rate against foreign
factors, as well as ensuring
Darbassie, who rep-
resented the banking
sector, was speaking
during Monday s CNC3
with host Shelly Dass-
She said that Imbert
clearly announced his
intention when he spoke
about getting the Cen-
tral Bank to clear the
backlog of arrears of
foreign exchange demand and
ensure that legitimate demands for foreign exchange
were met, as well as ensure the stability of the exchange rate.
Imbert, in his address on Monday, disclosed that in discussions with
Central Bank, a collaborative effort had been agreed on for restoring
confidence in the national economy.
"Rebuilding confidence in
the management of the for-
eign exchange market rep-
resents a central thrust as
we revitalise our national
economy. As an initial
step, the Central Bank,
in the discharge of its
mandate for the man-
agement of the for-
eign exchange market, will be requested to re-establish the
foreign exchange distribution system which existed prior to
2014," Imbert said.
The decision by Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran
to implement a new system of foreign exchange distribution
caused much grief for business owners, manufacturers
and other people.
Despite significant deposits into the system the shortfall
remained as business owners began to hoard foreign
exchange to pay their suppliers.
Imbert said that the Government was committed
to ensuring an adequate and efficient supply of foreign
exchange to manufacturers and importers and to
the citizenry at large.
"We also intend to take the necessary steps to
protect our exchange rate from external pressures,"
Imbert said. (RD)
First Citizens executive:
Former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine defended the former People s Part-
nership administration from allegations of mismanagement which is being blamed
for the downturn in the economy, saying that it was no fault of theirs.
Ramnarine said that the former ministers of finance, Larry Howai and his
predecessor Winston Dookeran, both ran "pretty tight ships."
He, however, admitted that T&T was in a very difficult environment
before the general election in September, which has now been
carried over to the new government, and added
that it would continue perhaps
"We are in for a period of
what the economists call a
new normal for T&T and
the Minister of Finance,
(Monday), began the process
of some adjustment by
increasing prices in super
gas and diesel," Ramnarine
He was speaking at Mon-
day s CNC3 s post-budget
analysis with host Shelly
"It was obvious that rev-
enues would fall and I had said
while I was minister that we could expect
revenues would be less...half of what it used to be," Ramnarine said.
He said that the PP administration had then introduced a range of fiscal
incentives for upstream companies that allowed them to invest, and in so
doing, they paid less tax.
"So, three things happening in the economy that contributed to lower
revenue in the energy sector. Low gas price scenario, level of capital expen-
diture and, third factor, fiscal incentives. On top of that those three things
have converged at around
the same time to lead to
where we are today with
a very constrained envi-
ronment in terms of
energy revenue," Ram-
He, however, also
denied a lack of trans-
parency in disclosing the
state of the economy back then.
"We had left the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund at US$5
billion and foreign reserves at over close to US$11 billion.
Inflation was pretty manageable. Unemployment was low.
So, I don t think it could be described as mismanaging or
running the economy to the ground," Ramnarine said.
"It is still in a pretty good place. There are adjustments
to take place because the main source of revenue is begin-
ning to be constrained, at least for the medium term.
I think that we could navigate out of this situation. It
is not doom s day or an edge of the cliff scenario," he
Economy in rough waters
Not on cliff's
Thursday, October 8, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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