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Releasing bank account info to GRA could spell economic doom- Jagdeo

The headquarters of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Camp Street, Georgetown.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo fears that an impending legal amendment that would compel commercial banks to release information to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) would see massive withdrawals from commercial banks and general economic stability.

“I am very fearful about what this could trigger. Many of them probably will pull their money out of the system and if that happens you will have a large-scale movement of resources, switching to US dollars or to be externalized as capital flight.

Jagdeo said business owners in Region Five have grave misgivings about the draft amendment to the Financial Institutions Act  currently before the National Assembly would be used politically to go after their bank records at the GRA.

“This could cause a run on the banks as well as major problems with our currency and I urge the government to be careful about the signals that they are sending because if that were to ever happen we will trigger a crisis of unimaginable proportion in this country,” he told a news conference at Freedom House, the People’s Progressive Party’s headquarters on Robb Street.

The Russian-trained economist’s concerns come at a time when the five-month old coalition government says it  is moving to weed out corruption, tax evasion and  the drug trade as well as recover State assets.

Jagdeo used the opportunity to reiterate his party’s criticisms of the State Asset Recovery Unit which, he said, has no legal teeth and is stacked with political persons who are on a witch-hunt against members of the PPP which lost power for the first time in 23 years on May 11, 2015.