The seizing of retention accounts is not the intention of the government

Dear Editor,

Your article of March 25, 2017 captioned ‘BOG prepared to inject foreign currency into market’ includes the following sentences: “He added that a retention account is not a right, ‘it’s a privilege granted at the behest of the Central Bank; we have net earners of foreign exchange also trying to play the market.’  Jordan’s reference to the possible seizing of retention accounts will likely cause greater anxiety in business circles, sources say.”

“Possible seizing of retention accounts” is at the very least a sensational interpretation of the comments made by me. Seizing means to expropriate. And in this context, it is an extremely irresponsible use of the word. More importantly, however, is the fact that I never used that word nor implied it.

Let me put this very clearly, the “seizing of retention accounts” is not the intention of my government.

A review of the approval for a retention account is an option that is available to the Governor of the Bank of Guyana and the Minister of Finance and can be exercised at any time if circumstances require it. ‘Seize’ therefore, can never be an alternative word for ‘withdraw’.

But let me repeat, the “seizing of retention accounts” as stated by your reporter is not a contemplation of the Government, the Minister of Finance or the Governor.

Holders of retention accounts, who are members of the business community, are encouraged to use those accounts rather than resort to the open market for foreign exchange.

I’d like to reassure the business community that my government is prepared to employ necessary strategies to ensure that growth in the sector is not jeopardised. Those strategies do not include any activity that will adversely impact on that intention.

The office of the Minister of Finance is open to all of the members of the Business Chambers in Guyana to discuss opportunities to lift the economy, buoy the confidence of investors and defend our currency.

Yours faithfully,

Winston Jordan

Minister of Finance







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