President blasts local banking sector for not being “proactive” in their support of the private sector

President blasts local banking sector for not being “proactive” in their support of the private sector

President Irfaan Ali today blasted the local Banking Sector for them not being “proactive” in the evolution of the country’s business sector.

In his address at the Private Sector Commission’s (PSC’s) 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, the President said while the Private Sector has jumped at existing opportunities both in the oil and non-oil sectors, the Banking Sector continues to lag behind.   

“The Banking Sector has been given one of the most dynamic platforms to support capital formation in this country, yet to date, the Banking Sector has not responded with the speed, efficiency, reliability and time to exploit the opportunities that are here in Guyana,” the President said.  

Challenging local banks to develop business proposals for consideration by the Private Sector, President Ali said there is more to banking than just the lending of money.

“The role of the bank is not to take deposits, and to lend in a low-risk environment. The role of the bank is also to seek opportunity, to understand where the economy is going, to create an eco-system to support where the economy is going, and to build upon what is happening in the country. We have announced a number of initiatives, and some of the banks are doing an extremely good job at following the initiative but a very poor job at concluding arrangements,” the President said. 

He said Private Sector continues to perform exceptionally well by creating opportunities in the oil and non-oil sectors. However, the speed at which the banking sector is performing is well below expectation, posing a major challenge for the Private Sector. 

“I believe also that our local Private Sector has grown tremendously, in the type of services that they can offer to the oil and gas sector, and many other sectors. And we have to review the scope and scale through which the local private sector is allowed to operate, especially in services for the oil and gas sector. I believe, that in many areas, we are training very competent Guyanese in the areas of oil and gas management, environmental management, sustainable management and oil and gas engineering, and we have to ensure that those skills when they come together are fully deployed,” the President said. 

Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Komal Singh said 2023 was a landmark year for Guyana with unprecedented growth across all sectors. Applauding the efforts of the Government, Singh said the Administration has been instrumental in creating an environment conducive to business growth to meeting increasing demands due to rapid development. 

“The Private Sector throughout Guyana has the opportunity to be that engine of growth, and we are having the support from Government to be that engine of growth. When you look across the entire country, in every single community, we can see that there is developments taking place and those developments spin off to become economic opportunities for businesses,” the PSC Chairman said. 

He said throughout the year, the PSC participated in a number of trade missions, including the largest one to the Dominican Republic with some 90 delegates. He said the missions have opened up numerous business opportunities through international partnerships. 

The banking sector has faced some criticism from business owners for not supporting some of their hefty borrowing and investment plans, that have not passed the bank’s own scrutiny.

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