Minister Samuda Explains Revocation of Agricultural Credit Board

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, addresses a press conference at the Ministry in St. Andrew on Wednesday (February 22).

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, has explained his decision to revoke the appointment of members of the Board of Directors at the Agricultural Credit Board (ACB).
  • Speaking at a press conference at the Hope Gardens’ offices on February 22, Mr. Samuda said the revocation, which took effect on February 8, was in accordance with Section 7 of the schedule to the ACB Act, which provides for such action by the Minister.
  • Minister Samuda said the Board, which has been in place since 2007, has not demonstrated sufficient commitment and alacrity in facilitating the implementation of this decision that has been confirmed by three Cabinets.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, has explained his decision to revoke the appointment of members of the Board of Directors at the Agricultural Credit Board (ACB).

Speaking at a press conference at the Hope Gardens’ offices on February 22, Mr. Samuda said the revocation, which took effect on February 8, was in accordance with Section 7 of the schedule to the ACB Act, which provides for such action by the Minister.

He explained that the ACB, by virtue of the Agricultural Credit Act is mandated to regulate activities of agricultural loan societies, which are registered under the Industrial and Providence Society Act.

He noted, however, that since 2008, this responsibility has been transferred from the ACB to the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies, which, he said, is better equipped to supervise the National People’s Cooperative (PC) banks given their excellent record in supervising credit unions and other societies.

“It would also address the issue of the PC banks being answerable simultaneously to the AC Board under the AC Board Act and the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies under the Industrial and Providence Society Act,” he explained.

Minister Samuda said the Board, which has been in place since 2007, has not demonstrated sufficient commitment and alacrity in facilitating the implementation of this decision that has been confirmed by three Cabinets.

“This is a Cabinet decision, and I was not of the view that the Board was acting in a manner that would ensure that this is done within the time frame given for its completion, given the urgency of completing this process by March 31 in line with the Government’s commitments under the Public Sector Rationalisation Plan,” he said.

He informed that the activities to be undertaken in this transitional period will be guided by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, adding that all parties have been fully briefed on the decision taken.

“Now, when the Minister is instructed by the Prime Minister, based on a commitment given to the International Monetary Fund, and it is agreed in the Cabinet, and the Minister instructs the board to do certain things and take certain action and that action is not taken, one thing you can be sure of is that this Minister will not fail to act,” Minister Samuda said.

“Any instruction that I am given by my Cabinet and my Prime Minister and it is not carried out when I ask that it be done, the consequences will be exactly as you have seen happen with the credit board, and that is without compromise,” he pointed out.

The ACB was chaired by Hugh Graham.

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