|VISITING officials of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have expressed confidence in the banking sector here and in Guyana’s financial sector, as the World Bank entity partners with one of Guyana’s leading banks to bring easier financing for importers and exporters. |
This is according to James S. Smouse, Principal Investment Officer at the IFC , and Jun Zhang, IFC’s Caribbean Regional Manager at the launching of Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry’s (GBTI) Global Trade Finance Programme at the Pegasus last Wednesday night.
The programme offers GBTI partial or full guarantees to cover payment risk from firms which export or import goods, commodities or services from or to Guyana.
These guarantees are applicable to transactions involving letters of credit, trade-related promissory notes and bills of exchange, bid and performance bonds, and advance payment guarantees or credits to suppliers.
Speaking at the opening, Smouse said: “It is a pleasure to be here with you all to commemorate this signing of this trade finance facility with the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), one of the leading banks in Guyana, and which plays an important role in the economic development of the country.”
“I would like to say thank you to the GBTI team and management. It was truly a pleasure to work with them and to perform our due-diligence, which I know can be quite rigorous and lengthy; but as we see here tonight they performed with flying colours. This is a strong demonstration in our confidence in the institution as well as the financial sector of Guyana as a whole,” he said.
Speaking also at the opening was Jun, who said, “As most of you know, the IFC is part of the World Bank Group...our mission is to promote the economic growth of our member countries through the private sector by creating a vibrant private sector. In the Caribbean, the IFC has greatly strengthened our presence. We now have four field offices in the Caribbean region with about 30 staff, compared to just a few years ago when there was a clerk.”
“Our strategy for the Caribbean region consists of four pillars: crisis response; job creation through strengthening small and medium sized businesses; regional harmonisation and competitiveness; and climate change,” he said.
“We have been working with the GBTI for the last 12 months in creating this trade financing facility. GBTI is one of the largest banks in the country and it is very well positioned to contribute to the growth of the economy of Guyana. The trade facility is a financing mechanism through which the IFC, through its facility established with GBTI, will provide credit enhancement to allow trade to take place. We hope through the facility we can contribute to the growth of the economy, particularly by promoting external trade,” he said.
“We want to thank the Government of Guyana for its support during the time we were working with GBTI to create this facility. We also want to thank GBTI’s Board, its management team and its staff for working closely with us [in meeting the due-diligence standards],” he said.
“We want to say to our colleagues in GBTI that we share your great excitement and your vision in how you want to contribute more to the growth of your country. This is just the beginning of our very long term partnership and we hope this is one of many IFC-supported engagements in Guyana,” he concluded.
The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), in a press release on Thursday, congratulated GBTI for collaborating with the IFC to offer the Global Trade Finance Programme to the private sector in Guyana.
“We encourage our members and the entire private sector to take advantage of this new facility, which is aimed at supporting trade related transactions. In addition, we look forward to the upcoming workshop organised by GBTI to sensitise the business community to the utility of this programme,” the GCCI said. The Bank said at the opening that the workshop is to be held at a date to be announced.
At the launching, among the remarks that Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh made was that he is always delighted at any development that contributes to improving the ease with which current entrepreneurs in Guyana might be able take advantage of trade opportunities.
“We have worked painstakingly to ensure that we establish such an environment, and we have made considerable progress in this regard through ensuring that we have a strong and stable financial system,” Dr. Singh said.
“I was glad to hear from the IFC that they did do the due-diligence and confirmed that the financial institutions in general and GBTI, one of our largest institutions in particular, are strong and sound and well-managed, because we have been saying this for a long time and it has not been achieved accidentally. It has been achieved because of a deliberate policy stance, the result of concerted effort, ensuring we have the legislation in place, ensuring we have regulations, and that our supervisory capabilities are strengthened,” he said.
He said that having established the environment that Government has worked so hard to, “I am pleased and am always delighted to see institutions take additional steps to further enhance this environment.”
“I do believe very strongly that [the partnership] will redound to our private sector. I urge you to take advantage of the facility and to exert every effort to identify the opportunities to which I referred and how you could take advantage of them,” he said.