Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes that money in savings accounts should be used to help this country get out of the current economic challenges.
Ms. Mottley expressed this view on Friday night when she delivered the feature address at the Enterprise Growth Fund Limited’s (EGFL) 21st anniversary and unveiling ceremony and cocktail reception at its Barbarees, St. Michael, headquarters.
The Prime Minister said: “We have lamented too often about the fact that we have a situation where the savings of our people are attracting minimal returns…and in circumstances where some may even argue that we pay the bank to keep our money, when we consider the additional fees that are factored in with respect to the transactional relationship between client and bank.
“But, at the same time, while the country finds itself in its current economic circumstances, the country is relatively liquid and there is in excess of $9 billion in savings that ought to be appropriately used in order to…help us…grow our way out of these circumstances. This is a difficult pill for us to swallow and we have come to the conclusion as a Government that we have to do better as a region and as a country in being able to mobilize our savings for the productive purposes of growth in our country and in our region…”
Ms. Mottley pointed out that some weeks ago, the available savings in CSME countries was US$47 billion. Therefore, she proffered the view that the region was in a “far better position” to finance its development, but needed to act with the necessary strategic purpose.
“We are allowing a scatter shot approach to diffuse the benefits that can otherwise accrue to us of that level of accumulated savings… We have to have better mechanisms to…better facilitate greater returns on capital to those of our citizens who want to be able to participate, while at the same time affording our producers and our businesses cheaper cost of capital in order to grow, as is required if our economies are to be able to see the kind of growth that we need to move to the next level.”
The Prime Minister said the time had come to start to put critical mechanisms in place and to bring the level of financial literacy so trust could begin to permeate throughout the society and people could recognize the benefits of debt financing and equity financing with regard to pooling their resources.
She thanked the current and former boards of the EGFL as well as the staff, saying Government was committed to working with them to realize the vision of better utilizing the savings of Barbadians to enfranchise them.