Gov’t Vows to Ensure Small Businesses Access Credit On Better Terms

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Minister of Business: Dominic Gaskin

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (Sept 12, 2017) – The Guyana government says it will continue its efforts at ensuring that small and micro-enterprises receive credit into order to further develop.

“Our government will continue to seek solutions that make it easier for small and micro-enterprises to access credit but the reality is that most of these enterprises are operating informally,” said Business Minister Dominic Gaskin.

Addressing the CreditINFO Guyana, Credit Forum and Expo that began in Georgetown on Monday, Gaskin added that “this is not what we want to support since it does not provide the kind of returns that government is seeking to generate from the development of Small and Micro-enterprises”.

Guyana is observing International Credit Bureau Day on Tuesday under the theme, ‘Increasing Access to Credit for the SME Sector and Beyond’. The event coincides with the 20th anniversary of CreditINFOs across the world.

Gaskin said that the government would continue to organise programs to support small businesses in accessing credit on better terms.

He said that initiatives, such as collateral guarantee schemes, and interest subsidies, as well as secured transactions legislation to allow the use of movable property as collateral for loans, will all combine to improve access to credit for micro and small enterprises.

The Business Minister pointed out that his ministry and the Small Business Bureau (SBB) want more simplified processes overall; whether its compliance with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) or the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) or any other government process that they need to undergo in order to operate formal businesses.

“We also want to ensure that businesses are paying taxes so that revenues can be generated from the activities of small and micro-enterprises. So as a government we see small businesses as source of employment generation, tax revenue generation and a key contributor to GDP growth. We are playing and will continue to play an active role in the growth and development of that sector,” Gaskin noted.

While he commended the work CreditINFo has done so far in Guyana, Gaskin noted that having a system for collection and analysis of data from lending institutions, and making that system a part of the risk assessment process is an important development in the area of Credit reporting.

This system is expected to raise awareness of the importance of creditworthiness among Guyanese when it comes to honouring their debts.

“Essentially this should make it easier for small businesses with good track records to be approved for loans through the formal banking system. Our government supported the use of credited reporting in Guyana through an amendment to the Credit Reporting Act which made authorized banks to share credit information with a credit bureau without customer consent and mandated them to do. This allowed Credit Info to collect the data that could generate the credit reports which the industry needed.”

Chief Executive Officer of CreditINFO Guyana, udy Semple-Joseph, said the mission of the organisation is to provide intelligent information, software and analytic solutions in order to facilitate access to credit. She explained that the credit bureau bridges the gap between borrowers and lenders by providing necessary information to assess the credit worthiness of individuals and business.

In addressing the issue of over-indebtedness, Semple-Joseph said that CreditINFO is encouraging responsible borrowing.

“CreditINFO feels it necessary to provide as much relevant information as possible via its ‘Know Before You Go! Campaign’, which is currently running on Facebook. It is very important at this juncture for the public to become more aware of the credit bureau and its functions and how it can be of benefit to the public.” – CMC

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