Chamber Executive Director, Brian Louisy, participated in discussions with the ECCB and the International Finance Corporation and Eastern Caribbean Currency Union members on the Doing Business and Investment Environment, specifically in the area of ‘Getting Credit’. Getting credit is one of the indicators where many of the ECCU or OECS Member States rank very low in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report.
The Chamber, which has been actively advocating for improvements to the Ease of Doing Business in Saint Lucia and urging Government to implement reforms, attended this video conference which focused on two areas where IFC support has been provided, viz. ‘Creating a Secured Transaction and Collateral System’ and ‘A Harmonized System for Credit Reporting Bill’.
The Chamber has been involved in reviewing and examining the draft legislation for the Secured Transaction and Collateral System. It and much of the private sector that will be impacted by the Harmonized System for Credit Reporting have not seen the draft of that legislation. Successive drafts have only been discussed and debated in the public sector domain (AG’s Chambers) with little, if any, input at this stage from the private sector.
Mr Louisy raised a number of concerns at the meeting including (1) the absolute need for the draft legislation and regulations to be shared with the private sector; (2) that the legislation not create a monopoly for a single credit bureau in the region; (3) that the existing indigenous credit bureaux do not be disadvantaged by the legislation; (4) involved consultation on the legislation and regulations takes place; (5) the legislation not be rushed through parliament without input and consideration of the local private sector.
Questions regarding cooperation with related CARICOM initiatives were also raised, in addition to queries on the ownership structure of the Credit Bureau.
The meeting was extremely interactive with participants from Grenada and Dominica also making substantive contributions to the discussions, while the IFC Consultants and Presenters made excellent and articulate presentations.
The Chamber now anxiously awaits the draft legislation and regulation for the review and comments of its members. The Chamber has in recent times bemoaned what appears to be a recurring situation where essential pieces of legislation are rushed through Parliament without the requisite notice or consultation with the private sector in Saint Lucia.