JIS News

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, has called on commercial banks to revisit their role in the development of the country by providing more loans for the productive sector.
“I think we have reached the point where our commercial banking sector needs to aggressively reassess its own role in the economic development or prospects for our country,” Minister Shaw said as he addressed the opening of First Caribbean International Bank’s 13th branch in Liguanea, St. Andrew yesterday (June 22).
In stressing the importance of productive-sector loans to economic development, the Finance Minister said it was true that “our country is desperately in need of a fundamental return to investment in the productive sectors of the economy. It is critically important, it is vitally important.”
While recognizing the buoyant growth that has taken place in commercial bank loans this year over last year, Minister Shaw lamented the fact that a lot of that lending has been for consumer spending and not enough for projects in the productive sector, such as investment in plant, machinery and hotels.
Minister Shaw told the bankers present that their loans to the productive sector would have a beneficial effect on the financing of the national budget in that it would be financed more from what the country invests and less on what it can borrow.
“We have to, overtime, get to a point where we finance greater and greater portions of our budget, not by how much we can borrow from the private sector, including our commercial banks, but that we can finance our budget more from the increment of what we earn, and the increments of what we earn are the result of the increments of what we invest,” he stated.
He called on First Caribbean and the Bankers Association of Jamaica to help lead the way by making more loans available for productive enterprises, including food production and renewable energy, as the country looks towards food security and reduced reliance on fossil fuel.