Trinidad and Tobago heading for a foreign exchange crisis

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Dear Sir:

Given that the Central Bank’s recent economic bulletin stated that this country only had a worrying 8.3 months of import cover, the question must be asked: How would the government be generating sufficient foreign exchange in light of the constant hemorrhaging of energy companies which were all net forex earners?

The closure of Arcelor Mittal, two of the Methanol Holdings Limited (MHTL) plants, the Petrotrin Refinery, the possibility of Atlantic LNG train one being closed and now YARA’s end of operations have all come as a massive blow to our national economy’s ability to earn foreign exchange.

The government’s failure to diversify and encourage any significant foreign direct investment, evident in our nation’s decline in both the global competitiveness as well as ease of doing business rankings means that our economy will be heavily reliant on the energy sector to generate foreign exchange.

However, the consistent desolation of the energy sector by this government’s incompetence is cause for concern for our reserves as well as the national economy as many small and medium businesses are struggling to obtain forex to keep their operations alive.

As a nation, we must ask: Is this government, with the destruction of the energy sector, further sending our national economy and country into an abyss of economic turmoil?

David Lee

Member of Parliament, Point-a-Pierre

Deputy Political Leader, United National Congress (UNC) and Opposition Chief Whip

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