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  • Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, says lending rates by banks on new loans as at December 2016 were trending down.
  • Closing the 2017/18 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 22, the Minister pointed out that interest rates on new loans for large projects are now at 10.23 per cent, compared with 13 per cent in December 2015.
  • He argued that these reductions in lending rates auger well for continued economic growth, as businesses can now access well-needed capital at affordable rates.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, says lending rates by banks on new loans as at December 2016 were trending down.

Closing the 2017/18 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 22, the Minister pointed out that interest rates on new loans for large projects are now at 10.23 per cent, compared with 13 per cent in December 2015.

“Interest rates on new loans to medium-size projects have fallen to 11.16 per cent, down from 12.8 per cent in December 2015. Even for small projects, loan rates have declined to 13.55 per cent, down from nearly 14 per cent a year before,” Mr. Shaw added.

He argued that these reductions in lending rates augur well for continued economic growth, as businesses can now access well-needed capital at affordable rates.

Mr. Shaw said while there are opportunities for further reductions, he is confident that the Government’s continued focus on lowering interest rates and the continued focus on public-private partnerships will see further reductions and expansion of credit to support the economic-growth agenda.

Regarding the high fees charged by the banks, the Finance Minister said he is encouraged by National Commercial Bank (NCB), First Global and FirstCaribbean’s decision to remove fees on dormant accounts.

“I expect that others will also follow. Based on further discussions with the banks, I am also pleased to learn that the shift to electronic transactions, which is, for the most part, free, is happening quickly with 95 per cent of all NCB transactions and 87 per cent of all Bank of Nova Scotia transactions now being done electronically,” Mr. Shaw said.

He added that a more comprehensive use of electronic means of conducting financial transactions is imperative, if the Government is to increase economic growth.