House passes credit reporting bill

The National Assembly passed the Credit Reporting Bill 2009 on Thursday, allowing for the establishment of a Credit Bureau that would provide a better opportunity for citizens to gain access to credit lenders.

The Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of a credit reporting industry with the aim of enabling more reliable, competitive, and responsible credit lending while protecting burrowers’ rights. Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh moved the motion based on the report of a Special Select Committee, which recommended that the Credit Reporting Bill be adopted. Singh noted “the relevance and importance of bill,” saying that putting the legislation in place was an important initiative to ensure that more Guyanese are able to access credit cheaply. He said that in working towards implementing the legislation, “a case was well and thoroughly made,” adding that “it is for that reason that the bill was brought to House.”

Singh said that the putting the legislation in place was also in recognition of the fact that there are persons who are eligible to access the normal financial system because of formal track records. According to him, the bureau would see that those persons gain easier access to credit, with the benefit of a credit report reflecting their credit history.

Singh also noted that consideration of the bill also represented important reaffirmation of the value and importance of the Special Select Committee, as he referred to discussions, clarity of understandings reached and strength in which the committee conducted deliberations and reached conclusions. He was appreciative to his colleagues on both sides of the House, whom he noted supported the bill and made submissions.

PNCR-1G MP Africo Selman said her party recognised the importance of having a credit report, which she noted is a feature of most developed countries. In the context of Guyana, Selman stated that one would have to consider this country’s ‘limited’ economic base and consequently she said mechanisms should be put in place to prevent loopholes where the breaching of confidentiality of credit information is concerned. Selman stated that the PNCR   “will have to hold its word as the law is implemented.”

AFC MP David Patterson said his party also supported the passing of the legislation. He added that the party recognises that it is “work in progress and certain times we have to ensure that certain areas are revisited.” In supporting the bill, Patterson said the AFC did so with the hope that “in time when the facility is up and running the ordinary persons would not have to seek guarantors,” when undertaking hire purchases. Patterson stated that the legislation would particularly be beneficial to students seeking student loans.

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