Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler has praised the Central Bank’s decision to no longer set the minimum savings rate on deposits for commercial banks.
Describing it as “the right move at the right time”, Mr. Sinckler said it would contribute to a more active and robust market in Barbados.
He made those comments while delivering the feature address at the official opening of the sixth branch of First Citizens Bank at The Walk, Welches, St. Thomas.
However, he urged the commercial banks to “work with their customers and clients to ensure that there is a smooth transition from the fixed operation to the liberalised operation”. He added that the banks should take the opportunity to offer exciting products to their customers.
The Central Bank recently announced that from Tuesday, April 21, it would no longer set the minimum savings rate on deposits and that going forward, each commercial bank and deposit-taking institution would be responsible for setting its own interest rate. It noted that the decision to allow the market to determine the rate was reached after careful consideration of the performance of the domestic financial markets.
During his address, Mr. Sinckler said Barbados was being viewed as a modern services-based economy and Government had chosen to fix those parts of the system of delivery that were antiquated and no longer efficient.
He continued: “And, as a part of this, in terms of ushering in a new era in Government operations, we will rely particularly on the financial and economic services delivered by Government.
“The Barbados Revenue Authority, the Financial Services Commission, the soon to be established National Procurement Authority, and the restructuring and remodelling of all of our laws governing debt…, including the establishment… of the Debt Unit within the Ministry of Finance are all part of the system of reform that we are implementing to strengthen Government’s part of the Financial Services Sector… A matching comparable reform in the private financial sector is absolutely critical,” he said.
Minister Sinckler congratulated First Citizens Bank, saying it was demonstrating long-term viability in the Barbados economy and was sending a strong signal of its desire to fully establish itself as a key player in the financial services sector here and in the region.
First Citizens also has operations in Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Costa Rica.