Do­ing Busi­ness and In­vest­ment En­vi­ron­ment - Im­prov­ing our Rank­ing for 'Get­ting Credit'

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Cham­ber Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Brian Louisy, par­tic­i­pated in dis­cus­sions with the ECCB and the In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion and Eastern Caribbean Cur­rency Union mem­bers on the Do­ing Busi­ness and In­vest­ment En­vi­ron­ment, specif­i­cally in the area of 'Get­ting Credit'. Get­ting credit is one of the indicators where many of the ECCU or OECS Mem­ber States rank very low in the World Bank Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness Re­port.

The Cham­ber, which has been ac­tively ad­vo­cat­ing for im­prove­ments to the Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness in Saint Lu­cia and urg­ing Gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment re­forms, at­tended this video con­fer­ence which fo­cused on two ar­eas where IFC sup­port has been pro­vided, viz. 'Cre­at­ing a Se­cured Trans­ac­tion and Col­lat­eral Sys­tem' and 'A Har­mo­nized Sys­tem for Credit Reporting Bill'.

The Cham­ber has been in­volved in re­view­ing and ex­am­in­ing the draft leg­is­la­tion for the Se­cured Trans­ac­tion and Col­lat­eral Sys­tem. It and much of the pri­vate sec­tor that will be im­pacted by the Har­mo­nized Sys­tem for Credit Reporting have not seen the draft of that leg­is­la­tion. Suc­ces­sive drafts have only been dis­cussed and de­bated in the pub­lic sec­tor do­main (AG's Cham­bers) with lit­tle, if any, in­put at this stage from the pri­vate sec­tor.

Mr Louisy raised a num­ber of con­cerns at the meet­ing in­clud­ing (1) the ab­so­lute need for the draft leg­is­la­tion and reg­u­la­tions to be shared with the pri­vate sec­tor; (2) that the leg­is­la­tion not cre­ate a mo­nop­oly for a sin­gle credit bureau in the re­gion; (3) that the ex­ist­ing indige­nous credit bu­reaux do not be dis­ad­van­taged by the leg­is­la­tion; (4) in­volved con­sul­ta­tion on the leg­is­la­tion and reg­u­la­tions takes place; (5) the leg­is­la­tion not be rushed through par­lia­ment with­out in­put and con­sid­er­a­tion of the lo­cal pri­vate sec­tor.

Ques­tions re­gard­ing co­op­er­a­tion with re­lated CARICOM ini­tia­tives were also raised, in ad­di­tion to queries on the own­er­ship struc­ture of the Credit Bureau.

The meet­ing was ex­tremely in­ter­ac­tive with par­tic­i­pants from Gre­nada and Do­minica also mak­ing sub­stan­tive con­tri­bu­tions to the dis­cus­sions, while the IFC Con­sul­tants and Pre­sen­ters made ex­cel­lent and ar­tic­u­late pre­sen­ta­tions.

The Cham­ber now anx­iously awaits the draft leg­is­la­tion and reg­u­la­tion for the re­view and com­ments of its mem­bers. The Cham­ber has in re­cent times be­moaned what ap­pears to be a re­cur­ring sit­u­a­tion where es­sen­tial pieces of leg­is­la­tion are rushed through Par­lia­ment with­out the req­ui­site no­tice or con­sul­ta­tion with the pri­vate sec­tor in Saint Lu­cia.

Brian Louisy, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Saint Lu­cia Cham­ber of Com­merce.

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