Leader of government business in the Senate Dr Amery Browne has said the Ministry of Trade and Industry has not been informed of a shortage of sanitation products by any stakeholder in TT.
He was responding to a question in the Senate from Opposition Senator Wade Mark on Tuesday.
The question asked what steps the ministry was taken to address the effect of the supply shortage on Trinidad and Tobago.
Browne said the ministry has been actively monitoring developments in the global economy and in particular the disruption of supply chains.
“I find the wording and content of the question to be inaccurate, alarmist and misleading to the public of TT.
“The ministry has not been informed by any stakeholder of any shortage of sanitation products in TT. We have not been informed by any stakeholder of any shortage in sanitation products in TT.”
He said in 2020, an accumulated disbursement of US$650 million was made available to the Exim Bank, to address the financing requirements of manufacturers and importers, through two facilities, the forex facility for manufacturers, and the forex allocation system for the importation of raw materials, basic food items and essential goods.
“It should be noted from April 2020-February 2022, essential items supplied to TT under the forex allocation system for essentials totalled US$335 million, including sectors such as cleaning supplies, food, hygiene products, personnel protective equipment and pharmaceuticals, and the MTI will continue to closely and responsibly monitor developments and collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to ensure there is no shortage of products in our beautiful twin-island republic.”
Checks by Newsday showed while there have been no reports of a shortage of sanitation products in the US, that country was experiencing a shortage of sanitary products, specifically tampons, according to reports by the BBC, NPR, and the New York Times.
Responding to questions from Newsday via WhatsApp, Browne said, “Fortunately TT sources sanitary products from a range of countries, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry is tracking this issue closely. Current sources other than the US include Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, China.”
WhatsAapp messages sent to Mark asking for clarification as to which kind of products he meant had received no response by press time.