Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, yesterday met stakeholders from the banking sector as consultations on the 2018 budget continue.
According to Minister Jordan, members of the sector are optimistic about foreign exchange in the country.
“We discussed issues to do with the exchange rate and where that is. You know earlier in the year, they had some contretemps surrounding it and I was pleased to know not only that it has been stabilised over the past months but there is quite a bit of foreign currency circulating in the system. I was pleased to learn that the mechanism is working,” the Minister said.
The meeting with the Bankers Association dealt with some critical areas in the country’s economy including the performance of the economy in particular sugar and rice.
Minister Jordan noted that these two sectors have been partly responsible for the increase in non-performing loans in the banking system.
As such, he requested a dissection of the problem “…so that we could understand whether these non-performing loans will be increasing or whether they have tapered off now,” a government statement said.
He said that the banking stakeholders were pleased with the developments in the oil and gas sector and the new horizon for improved lending.
Expressing appreciation at being consulted on the budget, Richard Sammy, Managing Director of Republic Bank Guyana, remarked that the issues discussed and ventilated were largely accepted by the government
“We would have raised issues regarding the corporate tax as well as support for the rice and sugar and agricultural sectors…We would have also addressed the need for public-private partnerships framework in Guyana; as well as the development and modernization of payments and greater use of technology in the banking sector.”
According to the Finance Minister, the consultations are progressing well. To date, there have been discussions with the Private Sector Commission, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, and the trade unions.
Apart from the agencies, the ministry will be holding consultations with the African Business Counsel, the Upper Corentyne Chambers of Commerce and Industry and a group of young professionals and intellectuals.
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