Just three little words added to legislation would empower the Central Bank to constrain the levels of all fees charged to clients by private banks, said Independent Senator Dhanayshar Mahabir. He implored the Lower House to amend the Central Bank Act by adding, “and other services”, to the existing list of banks fees whose levels are set by the Central Bank.
Dubbing TT banks to be an oligopoly, where a small number of firms dominate a market, he expected them to pass on to their customers any tax-hikes imposed by Government. “They all float in a band,” he remarked. He urged his “tiny amendment” to the act to protect the public interest by letting the Central Bank determine levels for all fees.
To give banks competition, Mahabir urged credit unions to set up ATMs everywhere, just as gambling machines are everywhere. At that he urged the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) to publish details of its takings and monies paid out. “The NLCB should generate considerable revenue.” He said in Nevada, 98 percent of lottery takings must be paid out by law, and that in Canada the revenues generated and administrative costs are publicised.
Mahabir disclosed, “Economists never gamble. When I play horses I put $5 on a horse to place even if everybody says it’ll win. At least I’ll get back fifty cents.” He urged a 25 cents charge on each plastic bottle sold to curb dumping in the nation’s watercourses. “I’d like the manufacturers to be responsible for the collection of their waste. This will benefit many citizens in TT who are prone to flooding.”
Mahabir urged TT to consider following Haiti’s and Guyana’s ban on styrofoam. He urged old tires have a $10 trade-in value for motorists buying new tires, with the old tires to then be used as a reinforcement ingredient in a local cement plant.