Law makers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have passed the money Services Business Amendment Bill.
The Bill was presented by Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Camillo Gonsalves at the Parliament’s sitting of Tuesday 30th August.
In his presentation, Gonsalves assured the Parliament that the Government was taking steps to ensure that the law which governs the delivery of financial services here keeps pace with changes in the international arena.
He disclosed that international agencies have noted what they describe as “soft regulations” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which raises concerns about money laundering and the funding of terrorist activities.
He explained that the amendments will tighten the regulations for the five microfinance institutions operating in SVG: Courts SVG Ltd., Fast Cash, Quick Cash, Advance Cash and Cash Wiz.
Among the objectives of the bill is to help create some legitimacy to the business operation of the companies that carry on their services, while promoting a stable expansion of the industry, while protecting consumers.
“Second, it can ensure the viability of the industry and encourage the relevant entities to operate efficiently and promote fair market pricing particularly in relation to issues such as onerous contractual terms, excessive interest rate and over indebtedness,” said the finance minister.
He outlined the third objective of the bill as being to streamline the finances of the micro finance institutions in conformity with international best practices.
“The Money Services Business Amendment Act is one whose language and practice have outstripped the evolution in the sector in a number of ways. In ways relating to the emergence and continued growth of what’s call the micro finance sector’ in areas relating to the regulation of mobile cash app, in areas relating to regulating the physical premises in which we receive remittances, the physical store front of those facilities if you will and final in our continuing quest to remain apace with the ever evolving anti money laundering and financing of terrorism requirements of the international community. There are areas that have been identified by our international partners, as us having a soft set of regulations. The money services bill seeks to tighten all these areas,” Minister Gonsalves told Parliament.
The other bill passed last Tuesday was the Aliens Land Holding Regulations Amendment Bill, 2022 presented by Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves.
The next sitting of Parliament is scheduled for Monday, October 10 at 10am.