Import stress for businesses, consumers

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For my small business, a shipping container that arrived on July 7 is now being unstuffed at a freight forwarders warehouse almost 14 days later. Customs officers apparently have reduced throughput to two containers per day.

I don’t care how loudly Paula Gopee- Scoon, Colm Imbert, et al, proclaim ‘Investment Friendly’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’, there is a total disconnect from what’s happening on the ground.

Not to mention the death blow to express courier services (a notable employer), whose service has been extended to two-plus weeks from what used to be about a three- to four-day affair.

Do the authorities not realise that essential parts and small store stock also come this route?

There seems to be a concerted effort to quell foreign exchange demand by making imports difficult for the smaller businesses and for consumers who wish to purchase direct.

Access to USD and the barriers to importation of less than container- loads, as well as air freight, have effectively forced the population to buy from the big conglomerates, which don’t face these challenges. Is this the intent?

It is interesting to note that the Express featured an article recently on the brisk sale of Volvo electric vehicles, in which it states that they expect 50 such cars in the last quarter of 2022.

Is this equitable and/or desirable distribution of ‘our’ US dollars? If this is how the banks distribute the country’s scarce foreign exchange.

Bring back the 1980s ECO (Exchange Control Order), so that we might all get a fair share.

C Alexander
Port of Spain