By Glen Simon, NCPC
(PRESS RELEASE) — Pillar four of Saint Lucia’s Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan is geared at Building Resilience of the Private and Productive Sectors in the economy. Policy interventions number twenty-four, outlined under this pillar, seeks to support the business environment by fast-tracking legislation to increasing access to finance by MSME’s.
Sharma Mathurin is the economist with the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC), the agency spearheading the legislative reforms.
She said: “Currently we’re in the process of finalizing the Security Interests in Movable Property Bill and this is essentially a piece of legislation which enables the use of moveable assets as collateral in order to access financing from banks.
“We’re also in the process of finalizing another bill which is the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill and this is a piece of legislation which basically works with business and individuals who have fallen into economic crisis by giving them a chance at reorganizing or rehabilitating their debt so as to meet their financial obligations to the bank. Now the latter reform and piece of legislation is a significant one for the financial sector as well as the economy as a whole.”
The bills are expected to generate greater confidence among MSMEs in access finance for business expansion, exports, and employment generation while providing security and redress to financial institutions transacting business with MSMEs.
She added, that the drafting process has been very meticulous and involved extensive stakeholder consultation via a steering committee comprising representation from the Bar Association, Bankers Association, various private sector associations, key agencies, and Government Ministries as well as civil society organizations.
“We also worked with the World Bank’s Secured Transactions Legal Specialists as well as the Bankruptcy and Insolvency, Legal Specialists and those persons have a wealth of knowledge and experience in terms of drafting those types of legislation and even implementing these reforms in other jurisdictions around the world. And of course, they took into consideration our local context.”
Mathurin pointed out that the bills are very comprehensive in nature and have sought to address many gray areas and varying concerns. However, before the bills are enacted into law the public is invited to comment on the draft pieces of legislation and provide feedback before the bills are finalized.
“We at the NCPC and the Department of Finance and other key stakeholders are looking forward to the completion of the bills but I think more importantly to the implementation of the wider reforms and those reforms actually translating to private sector expansion, exports and of course contributing to economic growth in our wider economy. So we look forward to your contribution your input and your feedback.”
The draft Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill and Security Interests in Movable Property Bill are available to the public on the Government of Saint Lucia Portal, govt.lc, and the Ministry of Fiancé’s website, finance.gov.lc. The NCPC also aims to increase its public sensitization campaign around these two pieces of legislation.