Gov’t to update FIA to position Guyana’s banking sector among the top in the region

President Ali

The government plans to update the Financial Institutions Act (FIA) to modernise Guyana’s banking sector and align it with international banking standards.

Speaking during a press conference at State House in Georgetown on Thursday, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali said these proposed amendments aim to attract international institutions to establish a presence in Guyana, with several requests already received.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

According to the president, the amendments to the FIA will enhance compliance with international banking standards and the Basel Core Principles on Banking Supervision.

“These amendments will allow us to take us to the top tier beyond any other jurisdiction in this region in relation to the banking sector,” Guyana’s President emphasised.

These changes will incorporate the latest legal framework, rules, regulations, and principles governing the banking sector while improving the mechanism for the transfer of assets of financial institutions during business transactions.

Additionally, the president explained, that these amendments will allow foreign financial companies to establish representative offices with the approval of the bank.

“While representative offices will not be allowed to carry on banking or financial business, they can offer the service that will be a stimulant for foreign direct investment by connecting capital to investment opportunity,” he detailed.

Furthermore, the updates will provide regulatory oversight for licensed financial institutions to set fair fees for their services, promoting financial inclusion and market fairness.

President Ali also noted that the proposed amendments include removing certain consultation requirements with the Minister of Finance, enabling more effective consolidated supervision and cooperation among supervisory authorities.

Sanctions for non-compliance by financial institutions will be increased to encourage adherence to statutory requirements and supervisory authority directives.

Ultimately, these changes aim to strengthen legal protection for government officers and bank employees executing their duties.  They are expected to bring significant benefits to Guyana, through the modernisation of the financial and banking system, especially since the country’s economy continues to grow.

“The economy is growing [and] we have all the sophisticated financial instruments that we will have to deal with and we have the very sophisticated financial institutions that we have to deal with,” he underscored.