Recent retrenchments at the Rural Development Commission (RDC) have hampered the state-owned agency’s ability to recoup some $2.4 million in arrears but acting Director Gregory Hinds says there will be no letting up in the efforts to recover the outstanding monies which date as far back as 2003.
“With the current economic climate, we have had some issues with delinquency. Unfortunately, we lost the business development team due to the last in, first out process. They would have been working hard to recover some of those loans and asking customers to come in, not for refinancing but, to make some payments towards the loans which were outstanding. That process was going smoothly,” he said.
However, the retrenchment of 22 RDC staff including three from the business development team meant that the work had to be re-allocated among the remaining staff in order to continue the collections drive.
Hinds gave the update on the RDC’s efforts to collect on loans at a seminar on Farm Management for Poultry and Pig Enterprises held at the Commission’s Bridge Street Mall, St Michael Headquarters on Wednesday.
“We lost three officers and it has slowed the process in terms of our loan recoveries and we are working now to reschedule how we manage that operation. What we would have done was to allow loan customers to make payments through the Republic Bank,” he said, adding that one of the reasons persons may have neglected their payments to the RDC is because of poor business planning.
“I think it goes deeper than collections; it goes deeper with some people who would have borrowed and some never made any payments because either the business was going down or they lacked proper planning. That is the reason this morning for the training session to educate farmers about how they can plan to manage their businesses,” Hinds said.
The acting director said there has been a pique in interest from persons seeking assistance from the livestock development fund for the Christmas season and he attributes this to the increase in sales of pork and chicken which have stimulated the interest of those looking for a business opportunity.