Finance Minister Colm Imbert says that while he sympathises with two restaurants that have been forced to close down, he 's hoping that it could trigger a greater reliance on locally produced food products.
The restaurants have said that foreign exchange shortages are responsible for their closures.
Speaking in Parliament today, Minister Imbert said that he had seen where one of the restaurants indicated that the arrangement between the franchise holder and the local operator, was for the use of only imported food products.
The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) does not agree that the shortage of foreign exchange is the main reason why two restaurants in T&T have decided to close down.
DOMA is taking issue with media coverage that suggest that foreign exchange shortage played a major role.
The following is DOMA's statement:
"We write to advise of our concerns regarding media coverage of recent restaurants closings in the Port-of-Spain area.
The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers' Association (TTMA) is welcoming the Finance Minister’s commitment to the manufacturing sector in relation to the distribution of foreign exchange.
In a release the TTMA's Chief Executive Ramesh Ramdeen says the position will “no doubt aid manufacturers in accessing much needed raw materials.”
The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers' Association says it is extremely pleased by the Minister of Finance's pronouncements yesterday at the post-Cabinet briefing that strong consideration will be given to afford manufacturers a higher priority as it relates to access to foreign exchange.
"Such news is welcomed as foreign exchange within the manufacturing community is critical to our operations and export growth mandate," the TTMA said in a statement.