UNC Chairman David Lee, left, speaks during a media briefing yesterday at Opposition House, Charles Street, Port-of-Spain, as MP Rushton Party looks on.

The United National Congress (UNC) is warning citizens to expect higher food prices as the country heads toward a foreign exchange crisis.

During a press conference on Sunday, Mayaro MP Rushton Paray said: “Trinidad and Tobago’s foreign exchange situation is in an abysmal state and is worsening month on month.”

As a result, he said that grocers and food wholesalers cannot import the quantities as previously done. This, along with the foreign exchange black market, he said, could mean less purchasing power for citizens, especially for food.

“In other words, it is going to cost each of us more to put food on the table,” he said.

“The country is in its deepest debt ever, businesses are closing down, workers are losing their jobs and the cost of living is sky-rocketing. Banks are further cutting back on foreign exchange availability to customers, customers are dipping deeper into their pocket and the government is doing precisely nothing,” he said.

Paray said the government needs to treat the foreign exchange shortage “emergency” with the “critical attention, vital resources, and sharp focus that it requires.” He called for skilled experts to come together in a bi-partisan response to the issue.

Meanwhile, opposition chief whip David Lee said the Minister of Energy should have resigned on Friday after the government did not strike down a motion of no confidence brought against him by the opposition.

“If Franklin Khan had any self-respect coming out of that debate on Friday and the way how his colleagues treat him, he should resign as Minister of Energy and Energy Industries because they have no faith in Franklin Khan,” Lee said.

He referenced how the government treated the opposition’s motion of no confidence brought against Minister of National Security Stuart Young in January. He said they cut the debate short and took a vote of confidence in him, using their majority in the lower house to their advantage.

“Clearly it shows that they have no confidence in Minister Khan,” he said.