Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley delivers the feature Address at the BCCI Business Forum & Luncheon at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday. (PMO)

Barbados will be setting up a Green Bank, says Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

Ms. Mottley shared this news during the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BCCI) Business Forum, under the theme: Building Bridges For A Successful Economic Recovery, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Green Banks facilitate private investment into domestic low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure, and a number of governments have created such institutions in recent years.

Ms. Mottley told the hybrid audience on Wednesday: “We’ve started the discussions with them (officials of the Green Climate Fund) on the absolute necessity for a Green Bank, in order to be able to finance much of what has to be undertaken in adaptation for you as members of the private sector, as well as for householders who have now to prepare themselves for a new reality in the 2030s….

“It means having to plan, …secure the funding and …afford the funding as you go forward. I have asked Professor Avinash Persaud…to undertake this vital task…to get the Green Bank going for the country, whether singularly or in partnership with existing or new entities that are about to come. I think some of you may be aware, also, of significant work that is being done towards the establishment of a digital bank locally as well.”

The Prime Minister insisted that these opportunities to give people access to finance were necessary.  She argued that without the required access, people would not be able to expand existing businesses or create new ones.

She said she had already spoken to the Governor of the Central Bank with regard to banking fees, as she publicly thanked him for the initial efforts to deal with the fees. Earlier this week, the Central Bank announced it had intervened in the pricing of debit card transactions, following complaints from the public.

Ms. Mottley said banks were intended to be in the business of financial intermediation, as she outlined what was currently happening in the sector with the fees.

“At the very time that we are asking you as a private sector and…Barbadians…to think outside of the box, it cannot be that we are going to sit idly by and allow persons to abandon their purpose of financial intermediation, and to go into the business of security.

“Now, …I am not meaning to be offensive in any way, but I don’t know how many more times to say it, and therefore I have advised the Governor of the Central Bank that, if we don’t get it right, then the Government will legislate, because it is not fair to the people or the businesses in this nation. Everyone else has taken a hit in this going down,” she pointed out.

Ms. Mottley said she will be meeting with members of the BCCI and the leadership of the workers’ movement on Friday, to discuss how to put the country ahead of the game with respect to food and nutritional security, given the excessive reliance on the importation of food.

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