A survey done by a grouping of joint trade and business support associations in Trinidad and Tobago found one hundred and seventy firms were affected by the inability to source foreign exchange, inhibiting them to purchase raw material and some finished products from external sources.
In a media release, it was revealed that this situation resulted in firms facing several challenges, including drastic negative impact on sales, inability to maintain supply chains which resulted in delays in restocking and meeting orders, inability to procure essential equipment and components.
The survey said the firms also faced more stringent credit terms and condition from suppliers, allowing for increase cost and inability to meet commitments to foreign suppliers in a timely manner, impacting credibility and leading to accounts, and goods and services being placed on hold.
It said one hundred and thirty-five firms received less than fifty percent of their forex requirements from their local bankers in 2020.
Subsequent to this, one hundred and forty-seven firms indicated that it took longer to access funds in 2020 versus 2019.
It added that one hundred and eighteen firms said it was even more difficult to do so in the latter part of 2020.
The survey said the challenge of sourcing forex led to one hundred and fifty-nine resorting to alternate solutions which included use of personal or company credit cards.
One hundred and twenty-eight firms were forced to reduce the range of products they provide.
One hundred and thirty-seven firms downsized operations and one hundred and six reduced staff.
In an effort to propose solutions, one hundred and thirty-one of the respondents recommended more dynamic management of the exchange rate to better govern the demand and supply of forex in Trinidad and Tobago.