Tancoo: Gov’t should release names of approved traders of forex

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Tancoo: Gov’t should release names of approved traders of forex

Opposition MP Davendranath Tancoo wants the government to release a list of all the approved traders of foreign exchange; those who are buying and those who are selling.

Tancoo made the request during the UNC’s Sunday morning press conference in Port of Spain.

The MP said according to the Central Bank, an estimated US$6.5 billion equivalent was sold publicly in 2022, an increase of over 30 per cent over the previous year.

He said the Central Bank provided US$1.27 billion equivalent to authorized buyers in 2022. He added that Imbert recently told the country that the EXIM bank had issued almost a billion dollars since the forex facility was established in 2018 and that Cabinet agreed to provide an additional $180 million to the facility on March 8.

“But who are getting all these billions being traded annually in foreign exchange? Who is benefiting from this?” he asked.

“Importantly too, in some instances, there were more than one company in the same conglomerate which were fortunate enough to be among those favoured to receive forex—and many of these were familiar names in political favour.”

He said there are conglomerates that generate foreign exchange but still draw down on allocations from the Central Bank as authorised buyers. Some conglomerates have financial interests in the banking sector and they have no issues getting foreign exchange, he added.

“So, for them, and for the Minister, and his colleagues, and his friends, there is neither shortage nor a crisis for foreign exchange. But for the thousands of businesses, and the tens of thousands of ordinary citizens who are unable to get foreign exchange, they are facing a foreign exchange crisis!” Tancoo said.

“Ordinary citizens who require foreign exchange for travel, or for university tuition fees abroad for their children, or for medical purposes, have to stand in line daily to get US200. Alternatively, these persons must now face the black market and pay as much as 30 per cent above bank rates for foreign exchange. Not only is this illegal, but it is unfair.”

“I challenge the Minister to provide a list of businesses which have received forex from any agency which interfaces with the Government— be it Exim bank, Central Bank, NGC, First Citizens etc.

“This is not Imbert’s private money. This is money belonging to taxpayers and the public interest must override the private interest.”