Clint Chan Tack
THE Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) welcomed Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s announcement on Tuesday that Trinidad and Tobago’s total foreign reserves are now over US$7 billion.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Imbert said, “TT’s foreign reserves have just been boosted by the equivalent of US$644 million, as a result of a global distribution by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) of Special Drawing Rights (SDR).”
He said this was designed to help countries cope with the forex (foreign exchange) demands of covid19.
As a result, he said, TT’s net foreign reserves were now back over US$7 billion.
In a subsequent tweet, Imbert said, “The US$644 million in additional SDRs from the IMF gives the Government more flexibility to inject US dollars into the commercial banking sector for distribution to the public and to make more forex available through the EximBank to the manufacturing sector and to importers of essential goods.”
In a statement on August 2, the IMF said its board of governors had approved a general allocation of SDRs equivalent to US$650 billion to boost global liquidity. IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said, “This is a historic decision – the largest SDR allocation in the history of the IMF and a shot in the arm for the global economy at a time of unprecedented crisis.”
In a statement on Wednesday, the TTMA said such a boost to the manufacturing sector would serve as additional armoury toward promoting and sustaining diversification and exports in TT.
TTMA president Tricia Coosal said “TTMA recognises the importance of synergies with the Government and other supporting agencies in order to achieve the goal of the export manufacturing strategy.”
Coosal said the TTMA has been working closely with EXIM Bank since the launch of the Forex Facility in May 2018 to support its members in their drive to expand and export.
“The Forex Facility is specific to manufacturers to be used for the purchase of raw material, shipping line costs and the purchase of equipment and machinery.”
The TTMA said it facilitates meetings between EXIM Bank and its members to increase the success rate of their applications.
“In 2020, through TTMA’s support, US$100 million was sold to 97 manufacturers, and for the period January to August 2021, US$81.2 million has been sold to 107 manufacturers via the EXIM Bank Forex Facility.”
The TTMA said, “We are certain before the end of the year, our members would fully utilise the US$100 allocated at the Foreign Exchange Facility at EXIM Bank.”
The TTMA said it continued to work with the Trade and Industry Ministry and exporTT “to realise the goal of TTMA’s export manufacturing strategy, which is to double non-energy exports by 2025.”
The TTMA said it was awaiting the presentation of the 2021/2022 budget by Imbert later this year and of any further information about funding to drive exports.
TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce CEO Gabriel Faria welcomed Imbert’s announcements in the context of the Exim Bank’s efforts to support the exporters and importers of basic foods
“Exim Bank has been extremely supportive in developing the exports of T&T though the Development of innovative financial solutions for the entire operating cycle.”
Faria said, “They have also provided priority foreign exchange access for basic foods, pharmaceuticals and medial supplies which has helped to ensure continued uninterrupted supplies of these items.” He added the Chamber was pleased to participate in this initiative with the Finance Ministry, Trade and Industry Ministry and other private sector groups.