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CDB to assess feasibility of development bank

Guyana has asked the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to help determine the pros and cons of re-establishing a development bank to provide soft loans to food producers and manufacturers, Finance Minister Winston Jordan announced Wednesday night.

“We have just requested CDB to commission a study to examine the demand for and the feasibility of establishing such a financial institution,” he told the annual awards dinner of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA).

Jordan hoped that a Development Bank would ensure manufacturers, agro processors and service providers have access to capital to gain a competitive edge in the areas of Guyana’s greatest comparative advantage- food security.

The Guyana Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank (GAIBANK) was shut down in the 1990s because of a mountain of bad loans that made that financial institution unsustainable.

In recent times, there has been debate in the Caribbean about whether agricultural development banks make little or no sense.

Small businesses are currently being funded through the Rural Development Fund and the Small and Micro-Enterprises Development Fund.

With a CDB study recently finding that youth unemployment in Guyana is about 40 percent, the David Granger-led administration hopes that the creation of businesses would help tackle that problem.

“This Government recognizes that micro-enterprises can be promoted as a means of establishing economic independence for our youth,” said Jordan.