One Opposition member is accusing the banks of being unkind to the citizenry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tabaquite MP Dr Surujrattan Rambachan made the comment while delivering his contribution on a private motion in Parliament yesterday.
He said Minister of Finance Colm Imbert and the Central Bank had been prevailing on the local banks to assist people with their loans but people are now discovering “it’s not a deferral that doesn’t have a cost” and they will still have to pay interest.
“I make bold to say that banks have not been very kind to the people during this time of COVID,” Rambachan said.
Rambachan said small and medium-sized businesses are planning to scale down operations and “job losses are on the rise whether we agree or not.”
The former Works and Infrastructure minister said there is no concrete plan being revealed to give help to these “vulnerable” businesses who have been struggling to survive due to the COVID-19 lockdown measures implemented, noting the Government should give consideration to the United National Congress’ proposals for an economic master plan.
Phase two of the COVID-19 reopening plan started this week with the manufacturing sector, automotive industry, laundries and tyre shops being allowed to restart. In the first phase, the food sector was allowed to resume.
Rambachan said banks should be willing “to give up 25 per cent of their profits in the form of interest rates reductions and deferral without penalties” to help businesses and citizens struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic
He admitted that the banks cannot be forced to do that but indicated that the Government holds serious investments in Republic Bank Limited, First Citizens, the Unit Trust Corporation and other financial institutions.
Before he could continue, however, he was informed by the House Speaker that his speaking time had elapsed.