ST VINCENT and the Grenadines (SVG) finance ministry has lifted restrictions that were imposed on the payment of invoices from TT in United States dollars (USD).
According to an article in the Searchlight newspaper SVG Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves announced two weeks ago that the government will no longer enforce certain provisions of the Exchange Control Act with regard to payments in USD from SVG to TT.
The Exchange Control Act regulates foreign currency transactions and on March 1, Gonsalves enforced this Act between SVG and TT, which meant that people desiring to pay invoices from TT in US dollars were required to seek permission from the ministry of finance and applications were not always approved.
“The Act was enforced to protest the fact that Vincentian traffickers have, for some time now, been unable to repatriate their funds from TT and the fact that the TT government was not addressing the issue.”
Gonsalves, the report stated, said the local restriction on trade in US dollars created some challenges because many businesses in TT did not want to trade in their local currency because of the exchange rate and various other issues.
“I thank the business sector for their patriotism because there were incidences where to buy something in USD was 7 per cent cheaper than to buy it in Trinidad dollars and we were telling them they had to use TT dollars and they could have passed those costs on to the consumers.”
He said the action by SVG got the attention of the Central Bank of TT and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and a meeting was held in Grenada on July 27 to discuss the issue. The Finance Minister said that the ECCB and the Central Bank of TT were exploring options to address the difficulties with foreign exchange being experienced by traffickers in agricultural produce.
“We got their attention…because of this, they have reached a tentative deal on how we are going to settle this matter without placing the burden of currency control on businesses in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Gonsalves.
He had said the matter was not fully rectified but he was confident that it will soon be.