Arthur tells pri­vate sec­tor to step up

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News -

The bank­ing sec­tor is rolling in dough earned off the sav­ings of and charges to Bar­ba­di­ans, says for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Owen Arthur.

As a re­sult, he be­lieves the time has come that the ex­cess liq­uid­ity in the bank­ing sys­tem be put to work for Bar­ba­di­ans.

Arthur made this point as he called for a re­form of the fi­nan­cial sec­tor at a pub­lic fo­rum ti­tled Eco­nomic Chal­lenges In Bar­ba­dos And You on Wed­nes­day night at the Moot Court, Univer­sity of the West Indies, Cave Hill cam­pus.

“Ex­cess liq­uid­ity in our bank­ing sys­tem is the sav­ings of the Bar­ba­dian peo­ple. The banks have not been tak­ing risks and all they are seek­ing to do is to add more and more charges. They are mak­ing more and more prof­its from charges. The banks have to un­der­stand that they have to make their prof­its from tak­ing risks,” he said.

Chal­leng­ing the pri­vate sec­tor to step up to the crease, Arthur, a noted de­vel­op­ment econ­o­mist, stressed that Gov­ern­ment can­not con­tinue to be “the saviour of first and last re­sort” and he called on that sec­tor to have a se­ri­ous sit­down with it­self and find new ways for growth.

Part­ner­ship

“. . . The pri­vate sec­tor has to come to­gether. I would like to see a re­la­tion­ship where the Gov­ern­ment gets in­volved in a part­ner­ship ar­range­ment with the credit unions, small busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tion and to some ex­tent some of the en­light­ened bank­ing sys­tem to be able to fi­nance the cre­ation of new small and mi­cro en­ter­prises by al­low­ing them to do what or­di­nary peo­ple do.

“Or­di­nary peo­ple who want to cre­ate busi­ness learn how to use credit. Un­til the small peo­ple of Bar­ba­dos also un­der­stand that, don’t look for grants and hand­outs all the time, learn to do what the big peo­ple do,” he said.

Speak­ing di­rectly to spe­cial ad­vi­sor to Prime Min­is­ter Mia Mot­t­ley, Av­inash Per­saud, who was a pan­el­list, Arthur said part of Gov­ern­ment’s debt re­struc­tur­ing pro­gramme, which he called “a work in progress” and not a “grand de­sign”, must fo­cus on fi­nan­cial sec­tor re­form.

“I un­der­stand what you are try­ing to do but the mes­sage that is be­ing sent again is it has to be left to the Gov­ern­ment. And I want the mes­sage to go for­ward as well, the pri­vate sec­tor has to do more for the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try,” Arthur added.

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