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Shed partisan politics for anti-money laundering laws- Finance Minister

Parliament Building

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh on Saturday called on the Opposition to place the integrity of Guyana’s financial system above partisan politics by ensuring the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill.  

The Guyana government, he said, has made exhaustive efforts to involve and accommodate the Opposition via a number attempts to meet as frequently as possible in the Select Committee, of the National Assembly, to discuss the bill.

 Singh recalled that government offered to meet with the Opposition in the Committee on two occasions so far but those efforts have been futile. Another meeting is scheduled for Monday October 21.

 “Despite these setbacks Government is committed to work every day for the people of Guyana for as long as it takes to get the amendments to this Bill passed,” he said.

The Finance Minister stressed that passage of this Bill is important to the economic sustainability of Guyana. It will demonstrate to international banks and lending agencies that Guyana’s financial system is credible, stable and accountable.

 The Private Sector Commission’s (PSC) recent call for support of the Bill, he said, echoes the concerns raised by Government regarding the impact of Guyana’s economy should these vital pieces of legislation be delayed further: non passage of the bill will delay business transaction and drive the prices of commodities and services upward.

“The consequences of such a delay will transfer to the common man,” he said.

He said that one example of these consequences will be felt by recipients of remittances. Because financial institutions will be subjected to intensified scrutiny and increased penalty fees for operating in a non-compliant country, those increased fees will be incurred by the consumer.

 Given the risk to Guyana’s economy, Government is once again calling on the Opposition to be responsible in the execution of its duties and to desist from the continued attempts to extract political concessions by holding these vital amendments and the nation ransom.  

The concern of Minister Singh comes in the wake of a full page advertisement published by the PSC on Friday October 18, calling on the Parliamentary parties to swiftly pass the legislation.