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Minister Indarsingh: T&T’s economic outlook promising
Although there has been sluggish economic growth globally, the outlook for T&T’s economy is promising, Rudy Indarsingh, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, said yesterday.
“According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Article IV assessment issued last year our local financial sector is vibrant and is sound. The Government’s aim is to promote a system that provides a solid foundation for growth. Our vision is for credit unions to be part of this,” he said as he read a speech on behalf of Finance Minister Larry Howai at the launch of the calendar of events of the Co-operative Credit Union League of T&T at Capital Plaza, Port-of-Spain.
Indarsingh added, however, that seven years after the global economic meltdown there is still “uncertainty”.
“There are jobs crises and fiscal imbalances. Though the worse may be behind us, the course ahead remains challenging. According to the IMF, global growth is too low and too fragile and it is insufficient for the 200 million persons around the world who need them,” he said. Indarsingh said there were 80 credit unions in the Co-operative Credit Union League with more 400,000 members and the organisation manages more than $4 billion in savings.
“With such a vibrant structure and track record, I am certain that 2014 promises to be a productive year for the movement. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said that co-operatives have structured themselves to be resilient and viable business models that can prosper even during hard times. This has prevented many families from sliding into poverty,” he said.
The minister also referred to Central Bank statistics that show that 33 per cent of T&T citizens are credit union members and collectively credit unions manage $10 billion in assets, or almost four per cent of the total assets in the entire financial system. He also said new credit union legislation was “substantially complete”.
“Thus far it has been a effort of the Central Bank, Ministry of Finance and members of the Credit Union League, among other stakeholders. Once completed, this will ensure a new regulatory regime for credit unions which will compliment other government initiatives aimed at strengthening the local financial system,” he said. The minister said the new legislation contained clauses dealing with the suspension of credit unions by the Central Bank.
“These changes are being introduced to ensure the financial safety and soundness of credit unions and to protect depositors. Against the back drop of HCU and CL Financial we must remember that it is the actions of this Government that have the financial sector stabilised,” he explained Indarsingh said over the past 15 months Government had tabled new insurance legislation and pension reform and had introduced changes to contributions and benefits in the NIS system.
“New securities legislation has also been implemented and also a new green paper on the financial system which will provide a road map for the next generation of financial reform and the development of the sector has been prepared,” he said.