GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday December 12, 2016 – Worrying signs on Guyana’s foreign exchange market has forced the Guyana Government to step in and temporarily suspend the buying of Barbados and Trinidad dollars from local cambios.
Central Bank Governor Dr Gobin Ganga raised concern that people have been coming from the neighbouring CARICOM states with their money to buy United States dollars. But that won’t be allowed from now on – for the time being, at least.
However, Ganga, who made the announcement at a recent press conference, said people with a legitimate need for the two currencies would still be able to access it from the Central Bank.
Ganga’s announcement came on the heels of local media reports that Guyana was facing a shortage of US dollars. He said this triggered a rush on some bank for huge amounts of “illegitimate” foreign exchange without the necessary documentation.
“We had requested from the commercial banks invoices to substantiate some of these requests. All that you received were some letters requesting a certain amount sent to a commercial bank, or an email or a verbal request. Obviously if there is a legitimate demand you would have an invoice accompanying,” Ganga said.
He insisted there was no shortage of the American dollars and commercial banks were well able to meet genuine requests.
“There is no chronic situation out there. The commercial banks are dealing with this issue as we speak. Some of them have been bringing back some foreign currencies that they had elsewhere to address some of the demand,” he said.
Dr Ganga warned banks against processing dishonest requests for US dollars saying it could put the country in a difficult position, citing situations where Trinidad and Tobago could not foot the US$1million bill from the Guyana Sugar Corporation or pay a rice exporter $700, 000.
Information from the central bank shows that while there was $8 million Barbados in circulation in Guyana in 2014, the figure has since leaped to $13 million.
For the same period, the amount of Trinidad currency in circulation moved from TT$9.1 million to TT$38 million.