Govt to work with banking sector to bolster small business development—President Ali

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President Dr Irfaan Ali

President Dr Irfaan Ali said that the Government is presently examining ways to work with the local banking sector to create more opportunities for Guyana’s ever-evolving economy, particularly for small businesses.

He noted that creating “innovative ways” were essential for micro-enterprises, which do not possess the type of collateral or cash outlay to benefit from the opportunities available.

“We have to have a discussion on the apportionment of that risk and how we can minimise or remove the collateral requirement and take the contract at face value, and then work out a mechanism through which a contract at face value is used to support those business operations.”

The Head of State, who has often spoken about the importance of the banking sector in the development of Guyana, made the statement during the launch of Demerara Bank’s new branch in Leonora, on the West Coast of Demerara on Thursday.

He called the location and level of investment essential to the development of Region Three.

“I have no doubt that this investment will be successful, that this investment with everything else that is happening around here will create a modern economic hub that will generate thousands of jobs. We have no doubt that development like these will support the other massive transformative developments that will take place along the coastline.”

The bank, which will be constructed at just over $150m at Groenveldt, Leonora, is expected to take approximately 18 months to complete.

IN SYNC WITH DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

The President reminded that only a few weeks ago the bank launched a special initiative that is collateral free to help small farmers. This he added, is another example of Demerara Bank creating a vehicle to support the development agenda.

“Moving here also shows that you are actively working in sync with the development agenda of the country and the Government….In this location here alone, we’re not only talking about a bank, we’re talking about a new mall, and we’re talking about the new hospital. You’re talking about a private housing development that will see 40 to 50 executive style homes, that construction has already started, and 100 condos geared towards international market in this one location.”

The major development projects earmarked for the region include Wales’s Gas-to-Shore project, the construction of the new Demerara River Bridge and the new four-lane highway from Schoonord to Crane.

The President said that these and other transformative projects across the country are undoubtedly affecting the demand for materials and services, a challenge faced globally. As such, he urged that businesses “work a bit harder and more creative” in finding more localised solutions to combat the global crisis.

“Understand what this means for demand. Understand the trickledown effect. Already we are feeling the effect of this in not a positive way… all of this is happening under very difficult global circumstances, not only in terms of food prices but in terms of material prices. Forget about the prices let’s not even go to the prices; the supply. There is no supply; huge deficit in global demand and supply.”

To this end, the President lauded the efforts of those who continue to innovate despite the difficulties.

“I am very pleased with the proactive and innovative work of Demerara Bank and to say to the leadership and the staff that your work, you may not see it now but years from now, you will reflect and you will happily say you are part of this transformation.”