Barbadians living overseas will now have greater opportunities to make a financial contribution to this country.

This was announced today by acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Freundel Stuart. He was delivering the feature address at the Inaugural Diaspora Conference on "Strengthening the bonds that Unite us" at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He said: "The Government recognises that there are a large number of overseas Barbadians who do not plan to return to Barbados, but who are keen to make financial investments in the country.

We have listened carefully to the requests made by many of you to be given meaningful opportunities to invest in the various instruments issued by Government, which are often over subscribed by the time word reaches you.

??"We have responded by directing the Ministry of Finance to provide advanced information to all Missions on the dates of forthcoming offerings so that these can be widely promoted to allow for real time access by overseas nationals."

In light of this, Mr. Stuart stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance were prepared, within a finite time frame, to reserve a percentage of the total issue for subscription by overseas nationals.

??He encouraged Barbadians living overseas to invest their money in Barbados where they could get better rates of return, bearing in mind the fact that this country’s banking sector was voted the third best regulated in the hemisphere, behind Chile and Canada, and as 21st globally, 19 points above the United Sates.

Mr. Stuart noted that there were legal and administrative impediments to the notion of issuing bonds exclusively for the Barbadian diaspora. Yet, the acting Prime Minister disclosed that inspite of this, several other countries had managed to overcome these challenges and had issued instruments targeted directly at the diaspora market, "with great success".

??"I do not accept, therefore, that we have done enough to thoroughly explore this possibility, and I am determined to bring the relevant expertise to bear in the search for creative new ways to access this vital, but largely untapped segment of the market," he declared.

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