Editorial

Foreign Exchange Madness

Foreign Exchange Madness

The state of our foreign exchange problem is not getting any better, and there’s nothing being done about it. We’ve heard numerous times about the woes of the business sector, especially the medium-sized businesses who are finding it difficult to get goods shipped to this country.
Vehicles are stranded at the port, waiting to be cleared for weeks at a time, as dealers fight through the system to get the US dollars. The regular Joe on the street is also being affected and the way the foreign exchange is being rationed, there may be little possibilities of persons travelling abroad in the near future.

Let’s take a recent experience by a 103FM staff member, who visited the home branch of his commercial bank recently to get cash. He was asked if he was travelling, to which he reluctantly replied “Yes”. Why should the bank know if a customer is travelling or not? To the customer, this is a huge security risk. They also asked him when he is travelling.

As uncomfortable as our staff member felt about making this information available to the bank teller, he had to explain, in order to be granted any foreign exchange. But wait, there is more. He wasn’t given any foreign exchange and was told that he can return to the branch only two weeks before he travels, and he should produce a copy of his travel itinerary to secure some cash.

On top of that, there’s no guarantee of getting cash when he comes in, and he was specifically told he will have to make several trips to the bank in order to get the little amount he requested. If this is sounding ridiculous at any point in time, feel free to think so, because we do.

Do we now have to resort to begging and disclosing more personal information about ourselves especially information about when we will be away from our homes to get some foreign spending money? Let’s not forget recently that two bank tellers were charged with stealing from persons’ accounts. Yes, that’s how much we’re afraid of disclosing more personal information than is necessary.

The procedures have become worse over time, especially in the past year or two, and we don’t see it getting better. There is no effort from the authorities to get the foreign exchange issue back on good footing. Our credit cards are also beginning to be restricted. Is it a ploy to keep persons buying and selling locally, and to keep citizens from going beyond the borders of our twin island nation?

What’s the real reason for this foreign exchange madness? Someone, please explain!

 

The 103FM Editorial is aired weekdays at 7:30am and 6:08pm

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March 13th, 2018

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