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Foreign Exchange from EximBank —Oasis or mirage?
The announcement from Finance Minister Colm Imbert that EximBank has been granted a licence to trade in foreign exchange appears like an oasis in the desert to most manufacturers.
The minister must be commended for finally following through with the promise made in last year’s budget to alleviate the problems faced by manufacturers in obtaining foreign exchange.
It’s is hoped that both the choice of the “approved” manufacturers and the eventual distribution would be equitable and there will be no discrimination based on the size of the organisation as was done in the past.
Recognition and consideration must be given to small manufacturers, those who export through agents/third parties and most of all, for those manufacturers who currently were unable to export as they did before because of the lack of foreign exchange.
Finally, it is hoped that EximBank would sell foreign exchange at market rates not at a rate plus a commission. Any further cost and bureaucracy which would add to the cost of doing business to the already struggling manufacturing sector would only serve to further cripple the industry.
The Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank would be best advised to formulate a fair and balanced plan to benefit all genuine manufacturers.
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