Finance Minister Colm Imbert says he will be asking the banks to waive their service fee for changing the $100 bills, especially for elderly citizens, but noted that the state cannot compel them to do so by law.
The minister told Parliament this morning that under the current law the central bank is empowered to fix bank charges and fees with respect to loans, deposits and credit finances, but it does not apply to over the counter transactions.
He said they may need to consider changing that.
The 12 member Confederation of Regional Business Chambers (CRBC) is asking government to extend its deadline for the return of cotton based $100 bills, by at least five to seven working days in January.
And the group is concerned about the increased security risks to small businesses, as a result of the compressed time given for the currency changeover.
Coordinator for the Confederation, Jaishima Leladharsingh, says many customers of these businesses may not have had time to change their currency before the 31 December deadline, and would be shopping with the old notes.
Although the one-cent coin today ceased to be legal tender, holders of the coin can still exchange it for other denominations of currency.
The Central Bank said in a statement today that while the coins can no longer be exchanged at commercial banks, the public may continue to redeem one-cent coins indefinitely at the Central Bank.
The opening hours for the Bank’s tellers are 8 am to 2 pm Mondays to Thursdays and 8 am to 3 pm on Fridays.
Regulations, which make rounding mandatory, will come into effect today.
Although T&T used up half of a billion dollars of foreign reserves over the past six months and is likely to use more for the rest of the year, the country should not be worried, Central Bank Governor Alvin Hilaire said yesterday.
The Central Bank's Monetary Policy Report has shown that inflation has slowed considerably.
Headline inflation was 0.9 percent in February, while core inflation measured 0.5 percent.
The following is the Central Bank's report issued today:
"Since the last meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in November 2017, global growth prospects have continued to strengthen.