Georgetown, Guyana – (April 02, 2016) The availability of micro financing institutions in any economy can play a significant role in the growth and development of the country. It is on this note that the Institute of Private Enterprises Development (IPED), came in for high praises, last evening, from President David Granger, when it hosted its 30th anniversary dinner and awards ceremony at the Pegasus Hotel.
“It can be said with confidence that micro-financing has established itself as a tool of human development, empowered women and young people, enabled individuals to own and operate their own businesses by providing access to capital and impacted on reducing unemployment, inequality and poverty,” he said.
President David Granger, who was accompanied by First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger and Minister of Business, Mr. Dominic Gaskin, said that the economic empowerment of poor people, from Emancipation in 1838 to Independence in 1966 and over the years, has always been hindered by the lack of access to financial credit, among other factors.
President Granger, who has always pushed for the economic development and stability of all communities so that they can better contribute to the country’s overall development, said that micro-financing already has an extended reach in this country but it must be further extended to serve the common good within every region.
President Granger (fourth from left) and First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger (third from left) and Founder and Chairman of IPED, Dr. Yesu Persaud (centre) with the Awardees at the function last evening.
Micro- financing, he said, leads to human development and human development must be animated at all levels of the country. He noted that it must be manifested in all of the ten administrative regions and they must become zones of economic growth. In this regard, he said that enterprises must be supported so that development can take place.
“We are keen to ensure that micro-financing can be available in every ‘capital town’ of this country. We want to promote human development by providing the poor with access to education and access to credit. We want to reduce the gap in income between rural and urban areas and between hinterland and coastland. We expect to achieve this by stimulating businesses and by creating employment through investment,” President Granger said.
To this end, he proposed that each capital town has its own Municipal Enterprise Network (MEN), similar to the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN), to provide access to microcredit.
“IPED’s experience is evidence of the effect that micro-financing can have on human development. Access to credit creates opportunities for empowerment and for transformation of the lives of the ordinary man and women,” he noted.
Speaking from a historical perspective, he noted that the newly freed men and women, during the 1800s resorted to traditional, informal cooperative savings schemes such as “box hand”. The village movement was started when peasants pooled their cash and brought it in bags in a wheelbarrow to Georgetown to purchase the plantation, which became known as Victoria Village on November 7, 1839.
Village economies, he said however, required greater access to greater amounts of financing for farming and artisanal trades and an innovative solution was found by James Mc Farlane Corry, a Chairman of Den Amstel Village on the West Coast Demerara and the first Chairman of the countrywide Village Chairman’s Conference, who introduced the idea of cooperative credit banks.
“Post-colonial Guyana, however, was affected by high levels of capital flight, the emigration of members of the business class and the impact of exogenous shocks, including the oil crisis and poor terms of trade of the economy. These shocks exacerbated the problems within the economy and led to a contraction in growth. A large informal economy sprouted without access to financial resources. Private enterprise and entrepreneurship, admittedly suffered as a result,” he said.
The President noted that the need arose “to create, stimulate, encourage and improve entrepreneurial skills in Guyana” to replace those that were lost due to attrition, migration of skills and the contraction of employment in the state sector and Dr. Yesu Persaud, founder and chairman of IPED recognised the importance of stimulating the development of privately-owned local enterprise as a means of reversing unemployment and boosting entrepreneurship and small businesses. He pioneered the Institute of Small Enterprise Development (ISED) on the April 1, 1986.
He praised the Institution for the work, which has been done over the past 30 years and expressed hope that the service will become available to even more persons for the development of their communities; a vision aligned to the achievement of his ‘Five Es- Education, Equality Employment, Empowerment, Enterprise’ developmental plan.
In the meantime, Dr. Persaud, who founded and chairs the company, in his remarks, noted that the company has indeed come a far way and has touched and improved the lives of many.
He noted that IPED has given out more than 100,000 loans in the worth $30 billion. On average, it approves 12 loans per day and has sustained more than 10,000 jobs in the economy.
According to the statistics quoted by the Chairman, women constitute 37 percent of its clients, while 12 percent of its loans are granted to young people.
The Institute boasts an impressive repayment rate of 97 percent, he said.