Everyone, but the banks, is betting on you – Tucker tells Guyana Local Content Summit

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Immediate past President of a key business group in Guyana – the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Timothy Tucker, says everyone, except the commercial banks, is betting on the new oil producing South American country. This is the latest in a series of statements from Tucker, advocating for greater action by banks to identify hurdles to access to finance, for local businesses.

Speaking at the inaugural Local Content Summit in Georgetown on April 6, Tucker highlighted the challenges that the Guyanese private sector faces in accessing finance, citing antiquated laws and an unwillingness from the banks. 

Tucker said, “I’ve been very passionate when it comes to [this] because, at the end of the day, we have some antiquated, (for want of a better term) stupid laws, that when you’re dealing with access to finance, [they are] just prohibitive.”

He emphasized the need to change these laws and to encourage the banks to do what is right for the country. He said that the government and private sector have been working hand in hand with respect to local content, and are all backing and investing in Guyana, while financial institutions are not.

Guyana is currently undergoing an economic boom due to the production and sale of crude from the Stabroek Block. To capitalise on this opportunity, Guyanese businesses need access to finance. Limited access would hinder their growth and competitiveness in the oil and gas sector, as they are up against more experienced international competitors with sizeable capital. 

Guyana entrepreneurs going into pockets, bringing in partners to tackle access to finance issue | OilNOW

The Georgetown Chamber has been continuously advocating for greater access to finance for businesses and the use of multiple instruments of borrowing, such as invoice factoring, accounts receivable financing, contract borrowing, and movable property lending. It warns that the local private sector risks falling behind regional and international counterparts if this issue persists.

Senior Finance Minister of Guyana, Dr. Ashni Singh, has pledged to remove all legal and regulatory hurdles to access to finance once identified by the commercial banks. However, Tucker maintains that the banks are not moving quickly enough to provide financing and are lacking proper risk analysis departments to assess businesses. 

Kester Hutson has taken up the presidency of the Georgetown Chamber, and has pledged to continue the effort of advocacy for the interest of local businesses. 

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